Arts in Care front cover for twitter
Author Care Inspectorate
Resource Type Care Inspectorate Programmes & Publications

Arts in care

The Care Inspectorate has partnered with Luminate, Scotland’s creative ageing festival which takes place annually across Scotland, to promote the importance of creativity by developing a resource to support care staff to plan and run creative arts sessions and also to work with professional artists.

Across Scotland there are a number of innovative projects taking place in care homes, aimed at promoting the arts and creative engagement to enhance the quality of life and health of people as they get older. Examples include, using technology such as iPads to make music, storytelling and poetry workshops, singing and dance projects and visual art activities. The stories are growing of the impact participating in the arts can have on a person’s physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing.

Being involved in the creative arts provides an opportunity for people to reignite a past interest, improve their skills in a particular arts form, try something new, stimulate creative thinking or enjoy the social aspect that this can bring, deepening relationships and making new ones in the care home or the local community. Older people should be able to access high quality arts and creative activities whatever their abilities, circumstances and wherever they live.




A film, in documentary style, which focuses mainly on the story of three care homes and their residents who share their experience of participating in the arts and the difference it has made to living life well. It shows artists and care home staff running arts sessions and residents taking part in creative arts in their local community. 

(To watch with subtitles please click on the 'CC' button on the play bar at the bottom of the video)



Recipe cards

Here are the 'recipe cards' for five different arts forms created by artists for care staff.

The arts forms are: creative dance, writing poetry, facilitating a singing session, print making and salt dough. These recipe cards will enable care staff to run a variety of creative arts sessions. They provide ideas, suggest ingredients and give a tried and tested method to follow. They also offer some tips, variations and ideas on how to progress the arts activities. The recipe cards have all been tested out in care homes with great success. 

A pad of blank recipe cards is also included in the pack and you can use these to create your own recipe cards when you run a successful arts session. You can use the blank cards in your pack or you can download a blank card here. Once you have done this you can share these with others on the Care Inspectorate Hub by emailing and including your completed recipe card. 


There is also a card with guidance on working with artists in the form of hints and tips on working with artists - have a look at this as you may want to think about employing a professional artist to run some arts sessions too. 

Useful links

You can explore to find more information on arts in the care sector and read about examples of projects in the care sector.

Luminate Scotland

Creative Scotland

National Centre for Creative Aging

Campaign to End Loneliness

Age of Creativity is a UK wide site for professionals and organisations working in the field of arts and older people.

Playlist for Life encourages families and caregivers to create a playlist of personally meaningful music on an iPod for people with dementia.

"You said you like the dancing" was a series of works created by dance artist Janice Parker in 2014 in collaboration with Town Break Day Club, for people living with dementia, in Stirling.

Living Voices is a national programme developed by the Scottish Poetry Library and the Scottish Storytelling Centre. It offers older people, usually in care homes, activities that use a mix of story, song and poetry to prompt conversation, reminiscence and creative response.

Drake Music has been running music projects in care homes in West Lothian using music technology and notation systems which allow anyone to make music. 

The Napkin Project invited volunteers to embroider napkins around the theme of home, which were then gifted to a care home to be used to encourage and enable reminiscence with elderly residents. 

Dance for Parkinson's is a Scottish Ballet project which enables those with Parkinson’s to experience the benefits of dance and creativity, improving balance, spatial awareness, confidence and fluidity in movement. 

Arts 4 Dementia work in partnership with arts organisations to develop workshops to re-energise and inspire people living with dementia in the community, to bring fulfilment to their lives - and provide opportunities for quality time with their carers and loved ones - through engagement with their chosen art form.

Creating Conversations has a gardening activity kit with activity sessions and discussion cards to encourage discussions around the theme of gardening. 

Creative Scotland's Dementia and Imagination Team has published 'Dementia & Imagination: Research Informed Approaches to Visual Arts Programmes'. It is designed for artists or others who plan to deliver arts-based activities to people living with dementia. 

Interesting YouTube clips

Supporting people’s wellbeing

All resources take an improvement and person-centred approach. They focus on supporting people to stay active, connected, and doing things that matter to them, regardless of their health or age.

Bringing generations together

Good practice examples to give care services ideas on how to bring generations together in a variety of care settings in a way that improves the quality of their lives.

Film in care

The Film in Care resource provides a practical guide on how to present film to people living in care homes in a way that will be most beneficial to them. It has been written in partnership with two Dundee University researchers who carried out their own original research on this topic.