Kunle Adewale and a guest at art exhibit
Project Type - Pilot Projects, Artistic Initiatives

Arts for Brain Health

Delivering a personalized arts-based intervention to people living with dementia and caregivers
Western Africa


The Arts in Brain Health project will deliver a personalized arts-based intervention to 60 institutionalized people living with dementia and 20 professional caregivers, culminating in an arts exhibition and a handbook. While art cannot cure dementia, it may provide a coping mechanism for affected persons, and contribute to the reduction of stigma. However, the implementation of arts-based interventions in African countries, and the examination of the effects of such programs on patients, are lacking.

Project Details

From 1995 to 2015, the number of dementia cases in Nigeria is estimated to have increased by over 400% (Adeloye et al., 2019). Older people with cognitive impairment in Nigeria frequently experience neglect and abuse, and suffer from loneliness, depression, and stigma. The growing prevalence of dementia in Nigeria, combined with an absence of effective pharmacological treatments worldwide, highlights the need for psychosocial interventions to alleviate the effects of dementia and enhance quality of life.

We will recruit 60 people with cognitive impairment and 20 professional caregivers to participate at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital in Lagos Nigeria. The intervention will be delivered by 8 junior artists under the supervision of the Artistic Director. The intervention will start with exposure to the various artistic interventions and the opportunity to build feelings of community and engagement. Next, participants will experience personalized interventions focused on fine arts or performance arts in small groups, and will explore a virtual reality intervention. Last, participants, family members, and stakeholders will attend an art exhibition that showcases and celebrates their work. The Artistic Director will create an Art for Brain Health Handbook to describe the approach.

This project will use artistic creativity to improve social engagement opportunities for people living with dementia, ultimately transforming the healthcare experiences of patients, professional caregivers, and family members, with long-term ambitions to reduce stigma and to promote whole-person approaches to the treatment of individuals living with cognitive disorders.