Background and Objectives: Arts activities may benefit people living with dementia. Social return on investment (SROI)
analysis, a form of cost-benefit analysis, has the potential to capture the value of arts interventions, but few rigorous SROI
analyses exist. This article presents a framework for an SROI analysis.
Research Design and Methods: One hundred twenty-five people with mild to severe dementia and 146 caregivers were
recruited to the Dementia and Imagination study across residential care homes, a hospital and community venues in
England and Wales for a 12-week visual arts program. Quantitative and qualitative data on quality of life, support, and
program perceptions were obtained through interviews. SROI was undertaken to explore the wider social value of the arts
Results: An input of £189,498 ($279,320/€257,338) to deliver the groups created a social value of £980,717
($1,445,577/€1,331,814). This equates to a base case scenario of £/$/€5.18 of social value generated for every £/$/€1
invested. Sensitivity analysis produced a range from £/$/€3.20 to £/$/€6.62 per £/$/€1, depending on assumptions about
benefit materialization; financial value of participants’ time; and length of sustained benefit.
Discussion: To our knowledge, this is the first study applying SROI to an arts intervention for people with dementia. Artsbased
activities appear to provide a positive SROI under a range of assumptions.
Implications: Decision makers are increasingly seeking wider forms of economic evidence surrounding the costs and benefits
of activities. This analysis is useful for service providers at all levels, from local government to care homes.