Science

The science behind our sessions

We know the power that our personalised therapeutic programmes can have on memory function, cognition and wellbeing. Our service is based on scientific research that demonstrates its clinical benefits. Discover what we have learned and the tangible results we’re seeing.

Our Approach

Stimulating cognition through creativity

Our aim is to reduce the decline in our users’ memory and cognitive function, and improve their mental health and wellbeing. We do that through personalised therapeutic programmes specially designed to deliver tangible clinical outcomes.

Our Model

1

Each individual follows a bespoke programme for them, designed to meet their unique health needs and interests.

2

We support the individual throughout their journey, providing technical help at every stage.

3

Individuals participate with a creative facilitator in a discipline of their choice, which is tailored to work towards their personal goals.

4

Artistic sessions include arts and crafts, creative writing, drama, history, music, photography, and storytelling.

5

We gather post-course feedback and outcome evaluation providing updates for medical teams as well as the participant.

The Benefits

An independent evaluation of our pilot programme confirmed the tangible clinical benefits of our programme on users. We are now undertaking further research, in partnership with The University of Sheffield Life Span Institute and independent evaluators from The Centre for Ageing Better, to gather more insights on the impact our sessions have.

%

improvement in wellbeing, memory function and quality of life after 12 sessions

The Research

Research is vital to Unforgettable Experiences – it supports everything that we do. We ensure that all our services are based on evidence that they will deliver tangible clinical benefits to our users. Here, we’ve gathered some of the many studies that informed and inspired the creation of our offering.

Unforgettable Experiences Evaluation

 

This report, prepared by Dr Yulia Kartalova-O’Doherty and Toby Williamson (March 2021) evaluates the impact of the service Unforgettable Experiences provides to its participants:

  • Quantitative analysis located a 20% improvement in QOL-AD measurements demonstrating that the quality of life of participants increased after attending the course.
  • According to participants, their carers and other stakeholders, their ability to socialise and to make new friends online was a crucial highlight in the UE project.
  • All participants of focus groups provided an abundance of positive feedback about the perceived cognitive, emotional, learning and quality of life benefits for all those involved.
  • UE demonstrated a highly effective, committed learning and reflective culture enabling good problem solving, adaptability, and partnership working.
  • UE were able to alleviate the pressure of long waiting lists and fill in the gaps between patient visits to GPs and hospital visits, with some GP visits becoming unnecessary altogether.
Creative Health: The Arts for Health & Wellbeing

 

This report, created by the All-Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing, shares evidence demonstrating the beneficial impact of the arts.

  • The arts can help keep us well, aid our recovery and support longer lives better lived
  • Participatory arts activities help to alleviate anxiety, depression and stress both within and outside work
  • The arts can help meet major challenges facing health and social care: ageing, long-term conditions, loneliness and mental health
  • A social return on investment of between £4 and £11 has been calculated for every £1 invested in arts on prescription
  • Arts on prescription can help reduce GP waiting lists by 37% and hospital admissions by 27%
A.R.T.S. for Brain Health

 

This report captures findings from Arts 4 Dementia two-year programme to help advance social prescribing at the onset of dementia symptoms.

  • The use of prescribed arts upon earliest diagnosis /onset of symptoms will protect against cognitive decline and the strains of dementia.
  • Arts-based processes and activities can have a positive impact on cognition, attention, stimulation, enhanced communication and engagement.
  • Arts and community-based activities must be accessible to people everywhere.
  • It is important not only to stimulate the mind but to also create a social experience.
  • Arts 4 Dementia is about the vision of promoting independence, creativity, empowering people to interact and enjoy activities to preserve their brain health.
Cognitive Stimulation Therapy

 

This report was designed following extensive analysis of research evidence and has been evaluated worldwide.

  • CST has been found to improve general cognitive functioning, language comprehension and production, and quality of life.
  • Key themes include positive experiences of being in groups due to a supportive and non-threatening environment.
  • Additional themes see an improvement in mood, confidence and concentration.
  • Additional benefits emerged as carers reported an improvement in their own quality of life also.
  • Both people with dementia and carers valued the mental stimulation provided by CST.
Art Therapy for the Prevention of Cognitive Decline

 

This research article was produced as part of a collective study centred on ‘The Arts in Psychotherapy’ (2019).

  • Art therapy is a widely accepted psychosocial treatment known to engage attention and enhance cognition, improving overall mood for dementia patients.
  • The significant improvement with art therapy, highlights the potential cognitive benefits of structured art therapy in older adults with mild cognitive impairment.
  • Older adults receiving art therapy had improvements in memory and attention at 3 months, with sustained improvement at 6 months.
  • The feasibility of structured art therapy and music reminiscence activity was evaluated in a RCT with 68 older adults with MCI.
  • Additional improvements were noted in visuospatial abilities, attention, working memory and executive function.