Digital technology to support arts engagement in care homes

This section brings together reports on how digital technology can support arts engagement, and links to read or watch:

Technically Older

This report revisits and updates the work done for the 2012 publication Digital Arts and Older People. It explores developments by artists who work with older people using technology in a creative way. New and additional benefits of using digital tools with older people are considered and ten new case studies of practice are presented, some of which are referenced in our topic areas. (Baring Foundation)

iPad technology in our care homes

This video gives examples of how IPads can be used to enhance the quality of life for people living with dementia in their care homes. (Anchor)

Support for activities co-ordinators

This blog looks at how the internet and touchscreen technology offer opportunities to develop the role of Activities Co-ordinator. It also provides suggestions that could be used in sessions or for residents to have a go at. (Connecting Care)

We Engage (Previously known as iPad Engage) workshops

iPads and iPad applications are used to work creatively with older people, particularly those with dementia. Artists work in care homes and run workshops for residents or facilitate Intergenerational projects.

Examples of practice (taken from our topic areas)


Moving Memory Dance Theatre Digital Doris

This portable digital ‘kit’ helps give older people the freedom to express themselves through movement and dance. Digital Doris uses Resolume software which projects digital images into any area. It can be used to demonstrate warm-up exercises, remind older people where they are in an activity and provide an extra point of reference for their movements.

Drawing and Painting

Alive Art sessions

Activity sessions take different forms. Content of these sessions can include painting techniques and looking at work by famous artists.

Engage and Create Ignite Programme

Ignite sessions are run by a facilitator using a tablet computer. They provide a tour of artworks from galleries and museums around the world. Sessions can be run for individuals or as a group activity.


Tangible Memories Objects of escape

Virtual reality technology and interactive furniture are used as a way for older people to access memories. Using virtual reality goggles or audio speakers, the viewer can experience favourite places and the outdoors in 3D or in stereo, through 360º images or evocative soundscapes. These journeys of the imagination can rekindle past memories and help to assist reminiscence and storytelling.

Music and singing

Imagine Live streaming from the Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham

Live streamed events in care homes allows residents to continue to enjoy and be part of these experiences and brings new experiences to people who might not have attended such events before.

American pianist Jenny Lin

The most recent is a recital by streamed in to Milbeck House care home in Nottingham.

Reading and writing

Imagine iPad Engage (uses digital technology)

Uses iPad Technology and a range of apps to bring a range of creative activities such as storytelling and poetry to care home residents.

Sculpture and pottery

National Museums Liverpool My House of Memories app

This app allows users to explore objects from the past and to share memories together.

List of apps

Here are some commonly used iPad/iPhone apps for creative work with older people including those with dementia.

Art Set

This painting app is good for people with dementia because the tools look realistic and are easy to control.

Book Creator for iPad

This app is unique in that it enables sound, photos, drawings and text to be put together in a book format. It works well for a range of activities, including creating storyboards and collecting memories.

Chihuly glassblowing video

This app allows users to make art by blowing into an iPhone microphone.


Ashton Community Trust (ACT) provides or facilitates arts and culture activities for people of all ages in North Belfast. FabLab is a place where almost anything can be made, from small 3D sculptures to large pieces of furniture.


3D figures can be created on iPad then printed and folded ‘origami-style from paper.

Garden Plan Pro

For people interested in gardening, this app offers ways to plan a vegetable, herb or fruit garden.

Koi Pond

This app is particularly good for people who have lost their ability to communicate verbally.

Let’s Create! Pottery app

This app can be used to make a virtual pot in a few easy steps – from moulding, to firing, to painting and adding prints.


This is a drawing with a musical twist. As the symmetrical picture grows so does the music. The work of art can be saved, emailed or printed.

Midnight HD

This app creates patterns created which can change colour when the screen is touched. This app is multi-touch and can be used individually or with groups.


This app features bright vivid colours on a black background which are similar to fireworks. They are easy for older people to see and the app is very easy to use.

Tangible Memories Story Creator app

This app allows the user to tell stories that are meaningful to them and their loved ones, and listen back to them in easy and accessible ways. It has been designed particularly with older people and their carers and families in mind, but can be used by anyone.

Links, research and reports

How iPads can help people living with dementia: a summary