Multiple modifiable risk factors exist across the lifespan to reduce dementia prevalence, and public understanding of these factors is increasing. Yet dementia is frequently misunderstood and stigmatised, and dementia prevention is not generally recognised as a health priority. Current limitations of public health campaigns for dementia prevention must be addressed and innovative alternatives developed to improve public comprehension and implementation of preventative action across all stages of life.
In searching various databases and public information on dementia prevention, restraints were found in current health messaging which did not reflect the complexity of this health issue and address diversity of its impact across cultures and ages. In consultation with researchers and public health organisations, we outline four case studies in Australia where innovative arts-based approaches have been adopted and discuss the potential for arts-based approaches to address these gaps.
Arts-based approaches have the unique capacity to shift perceptions on ageing and dementia, overcome language and literacy barriers, represent health concerns across cultures, and actively involve individuals, communities and healthcare professionals in the process of dementia prevention. Future campaigns can engage a variety of communities and environments with art mediums suited to their preferences, capacities and efficacy.
Recommendations include example mediums, environments and people to engage. Future research is required to understand the impact of, and to improve, the long-term adoption of innovative arts-based approaches in dementia prevention practices.