Art Matters for People Living With Dementia

This Friday we’re teaming up with The Chrysler Museum and the SEVA Chapter, Alzheimer’s Association, to share a visual arts experience with an early support group made up of people newly diagnosed with dementia and their care partners.

Our March workshop on art-making with people living with dementia was written up by Elizabeth Simpson/The Virginian Pilot.  That article is here.

We are helping people learn how to live with the disease, through creative engagement.  Being absorbed in a creative process, such as singing, dancing or painting involves more areas of the brain in the tasks at hand.  These areas include those responsible for emotion, muscle memory and pleasure.  This involvement allows for mental stimulation, relaxation, creative self-expression and a sense of accomplishment.

Creative engagement is great for the caregiver, too.  In addition to the benefits of their personal fulfillment, they are rewarded by seeing the satisfaction and success on the part of their loved one.  Our personal research has yielded quotes like, “It’s the first time I’ve seen her smile in six months,” and “It’s been difficult for her to feel like she’s part of anything…this (program) really brings out her personality and laughter, and feelings of self-worth.”

A pretty terrific outcome for a one-hour group arts session, wouldn’t you agree?