Hay Festival Event Explores How to Live Well with Dementia

The positive effects of music, art and a range of other creative arts in helping those with dementia has been well documented in recent years, and a special event at this year’s Hay Festival will give some insights into how and why it works.

Dr Claire Garabedian, a trained music practitioner as well as a researcher within the Association of Dementia Studies (ADS) at the University of Worcester, will be joined on stage by Laurence Gardiner, an expert with first-hand experience in living with dementia.

Laurence will describe his experience of living with a diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment, following a stroke, through the reading of several poems he has written, which are part of a recently published anthology: ‘Silent Voices: A selection of poems written by those not always heard’.

Dr Garabedian will then provide a brief background regarding the importance of various forms of creative arts in the lives of people with dementia. With the help of her cello, she will also illustrate how and why the simple shared activity of listening to music can promote engagement and connection between people and provide some simple suggestions for using creative arts in promoting connection and wellbeing for people who are living with dementia and people with whom they share their lives.

“Incorporating the creative arts, particularly music, into the lives of people is all too often overlooked and marginalised due to declining verbal communication and memory,” Dr Garabedian said. “But it can be so easily done, and holds the possibility of providing an enjoyable conduit for communication and connections by providing a stimulation that can equally be engaged with by all who are involved.”

The event is sponsored by the University of Worcester and takes place on Monday, May 29 at 7pm. The Hay Festival, which is celebrating its 30th year, is widely regarded as one of the world’s top literary festivals, attracting over 250,000 visitors to the small town of Hay-on-Wye.

The event is part of a series of events being sponsored by the University of Worcester at this year’s Festival. Other talks in the series include:

- Tuesday, May 30 at 11.30am – Enemies of the People: The role of the judiciary in a democracy. Featuring former West Mercia Police Chief Constable, David Shaw, retired Hereford judge HH Toby Hooper QC, and legal experts from the University of Worcester’s School of Law, and Kingston School of Law, the event will consider the constitutional role of the courts in maintaining a proper balance of power in a modern democracy, following the recent judicial decision on the procedure by which the UK can trigger Brexit.

- Wednesday, May 31, at 5.30pm – ‘Is teaching still a valued profession?’ A panel discussion around the value of the teaching profession, in light of recent surveys which showed that 73% of new teachers have considered leaving the profession. The panel will feature Professor David Green, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Worcester, Jonathan Godfrey, Principal of Hereford Sixth Form College, Sue Gaston, Headteacher of Fairfield High School in Peterchurch, and Taylor Cornes, a University of Worcester Teaching Graduate, and will be Chaired by Ed Dorrell, Head of Content at Times Educational Supplement.

- Sunday, June 4, at 5.30pm - ‘A new vision for our healthcare system’. A panel discussion which will explore whether, in a time of turmoil for the NHS, there is another way to deliver healthcare in the UK, innovating with new professions, like Physician Associates and Nurse Associates. The panel will be made up of Baroness Hollins, former president of the BMA, Professor Veronica Wilkie, GP and Professor of Primary Care, Charlotte Scott Taylor, a Physician Associate Graduate, and Dr Steven Thrust, a Consultant at Worcestershire Royal Hospital. It will be Chaired by Jane Perry, Associate Head of the University of Worcester’s Institute of Health and Society.

For tickets to any of the events please visit the Hay Festival website at www.hayfestival.org

Sarah Dawes