While there are few treatment options for dementia, opportunities to delve into history and art offer a range of benefits including social engagement, cognitive stimulation and improving general feelings of well-being. The Museum of Modern Art in New York City pioneered the approach in 2003 with a pilot in local care homes that expanded to Meet Me at MOMA, regular events open to people with dementia and their care partners. Today, about 140 museums worldwide have similar initiatives, and art galleries, historic properties, botanic gardens and more have built programs that suit their own collections, spaces and communities. Wendy White noticed differences in her parents as the National Museums Scotland’s monthly socials became fixtures on their calendar. Her father, a former engineer, was engaged by topics related to science while her mother loved learning about objects of great beauty. As White’s father’s health declined, she says his quality of life remained high because of these types of programs, shaping his schedule and giving him something to talk about.

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