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Posted: 25th November 2013

The Elderflowers Programme

"Launched in 2001, The Elderflowers programme uses the performing arts to improve the quality of life for elderly people with dementia and their families in hospital care in Scotland.

The immersive Elderflowers programme provides a valuable outlet for the participants’ own personality and humour, offering creative, physical and mental stimulation. The Elderflowers are trained to pick up on the interests and mood of each individual elderly person and respond accordingly, this can mean playful banter or very gentle, non-verbal communication.

As numbers continue to increase in dementia wards, it is vitally important that these elderly ladies and gentlemen still have the opportunity to be stimulated, participate in the arts and are encouraged to interact and laugh."



It is interesting the mention of non-verbal communication and how important that can be, particularly with people with dementia. Even if they cannot remember words, or sentences, they can still laugh..

"Hearts & Minds is a unique arts-in-health charity working across Scotland.  The company was founded in 1997 and is a world leader in hospital clowning organisations.

At Hearts & Minds, we aim to produce high-quality, participatory creative experiences for unwell children and elderly people with dementia in hospital, hospice, residential and respite care in Scotland.

We achieve our aim through two specialist arts-in-health programmes; The Clowndoctors and The Elderflowers.These performing arts activities engage the imagination of our participants through individually tailored therapeutic artistic interventions, improving the hospital experience and encouraging communication, interaction and laughter.

We run open and inclusive programmes, meaning that we do not focus specifically on one illness or disability, and work with people of varying ages and social backgrounds."

Further Reading

The Shed Project

Set at the Tonbridge Road Allotments, Levenshulme this project was run by Pool Arts, first in 2005.