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Cinema, Memory and Wellbeing

The Cinema, memory and wellbeing project uses music and film to improve the health of older people in the UK and Brazil. It has devised specialised activities for those living with dementia-related cognitive impairment in nursing homes and health care settings as well as those living independently.

Cinema, Memory and Wellbeing

The Cinema, memory and wellbeing project uses music and film to improve the health of older people in the UK and Brazil. It has devised specialised activities for those living with dementia-related cognitive impairment in nursing homes and health care settings as well as those living independently.

More about Cinema, Memory and Wellbeing

Play Video

Watch highlights from the Cinema and Wellbeing workshop held at Plaza Cinema, Crosby.

Professor Lisa Shaw and Professor Julia Hallam devised the ‘Cinema, Memory and Wellbeing’ project in 2014-15, drawing on Lisa’s knowledge of English-language films starring Carmen Miranda and Julia’s expertise regarding amateur and feature films set in Liverpool during the 1950s and 60s.

Having visited several nursing homes in Merseyside and Cheshire, UK, as well as consulting with healthcare workers in Petrópolis, Brazil, Lisa and Julia noticed how DVD collections, TVs and Internet resources linked to film were under-utilised. Screenings were generally restricted to long feature films which failed to keep the attention of residents and involved little interaction.

Lisa and Julia designed reminiscence sessions using short and varied film clips, including from local films and musicals, and combined these with discussion of music, photographs, props and other hands-on activities. These interactive sessions have been held at residential care homes, health centres and community cinemas in the UK and Brazil.

Play Video

Watch highlights from the Cinema and Wellbeing workshop held at Plaza Cinema, Crosby.

They were good memories you gave me. I remembered lots of things. And I laughed a lot. I thought it was a sensational idea.

How the work started
How the work started

With support from Bupa Care Homes in the UK and from the University of Liverpool, Lisa and Julia devised activities to deliver in care homes in Merseyside based on their pioneering research into film-related reminiscence and improvements in the health and wellbeing of elders.

Working with the activities coordinator at Rowan Garth Bupa nursing home in Liverpool, Lisa and Julia tailored sessions to the backgrounds and interests of the residents. They created two CDs of short film clips and piloted these with two groups of residents, one of which was composed of people with an early-stage dementia-related cognitive impairment. Having also spoken to carers, community health workers and General Practitioners (GP) in Brazil, Lisa became increasingly aware of the lack of tools and training that these professionals have at their disposal to carry out arts-based wellbeing activities. In collaboration with a GP and a team of six community health workers at the Fazenda Inglesa Health Centre in Petrópolis, Brazil, Lisa staged another pilot project – ‘Cinema, Memória e Bem-estar’ – in the form of film club events with 80 elderly users of the centre (2015-2016).

I was actually thinking of leaving the profession but after the event I had second thoughts, as I realised my job was worthwhile and that I was needed.

Expanding the work

Expanding the work ...

In order to make the implications of this research accessible to a broader audience of professionals, the project’s leaders have developed best-practice toolkits (in English and in Portuguese).

The adoption of the toolkit methodology has led to positive changes in the observed behaviour and wellbeing of participants in Cinema, Memory and Wellbeing (CMW) activities, as well as improvements in relationships between carers and cared-for, and between the cared-for themselves.

Carers’ resilience and confidence has also been strengthened through use of the toolkit resource. Feedback shows that a sense of worth in their role improved among carers using the CMW model of activities and additional skills were developed by these professionals through the project’s provision of cost-effective resources.The CMW toolkit is now being used in National Health Service (NHS) dementia wards in North West England, as well as nursing homes and day centres in the UK and Brazil.

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