chapter  10
Arts and healing
Learning from dementia literature
ByMaeve Rea
Pages 14

Using the arts to promote healing and happiness is not new. It is as old as humans themselves. Self-actualisation, at the top of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, suggests that each person wants to become the best that s/he is able to achieve, and that includes transcendence beyond essential physical and security needs. Incorporating the arts in health care is part of a swing away from the reductionist model of medicine to again considering the mind, body and spirit together when treating disease, and as a means of maintaining health and wellbeing. There is growing international acceptance that participation in the creative arts whether through writing and drama, painting and drawing or music and rhythm, can benefit health and wellbeing. In seeking to understand the dementia-embodied and lived experience, there is no doubt that personal narrative and accounts tell most about how the person with dementia experiences the disease.