Dementia is one of the commonest concerns of ageing. In Hong Kong, the population of those over 60 with dementia is expected to increase by 222% from 103,433 in 2009 to 332,688 in 2039 (Yu et al., 2012). To cope with the growing burden of ageing and dementia, measures that prepare society to accept and care for the elderly are necessary. College students are the future leaders of society. Their connection to the elderly is crucial in encouraging positive social changes in an ageing population. This paper proposes a service-learning programme of using arts to facilitate expression among people with early dementia. Competency-based service learning is “a credit-bearing educational experience in which students participate in mutually identified service activities that benefit the community” (Bringle & Clayton 2012, pp. 114-115). The proposed service-learning programme is integrated into an elective course “Art and Well Being” offered by the Department of Visual Studies at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, the course provides students with specific knowledge that ranges from advanced neuroscience and theories of anthropology and art to studies of cognitive psychology and art therapy, and the relevance of this knowledge to the intrinsic nature of art as a language written in images. Many of the theories taught in the course can be applied to real-world situations, but can only be realised in full by actual engagement in genuine creativity. Taking a participatory action research approach, the programme requires students to use their specific subject knowledge to design, run, review, and evaluate a series of well-structured artistic workshops for dementia. It aims to induce a channel through which one can read the world of dementia through the use of art making. Images produced are traces of individuality and fading memories of these people that reminds one of their distinctiveness as an individual person. At the completion of the service, the students are able to see how art can be used as a language to promote expression and communication for dementia. They will attain a better connection to elderly people and a great awareness of social issues related to ageing.
Colours of dementiaAsia-Pacific Regional Conference on Service-Learning 亞太地區服務研習會議
Start Date6-6-2013 1:45 PM
End Date6-6-2013 2:55 PM
Citation InformationLaw, S. M. (2013, June). Colours of dementia. Paper presented at the 4th Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Service-Learning: Service-Learning as a Bridge from Local to Global: Connected world, Connected future, Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China.