By Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer
Group-living homes are found decorated with
corporate prints, more suited to a hotel or office.
Loved ones will be more appreciative of art that
speaks to them. The same can be said if a loved one
lives with a caregiver. Taking the time to make a
home engaging and surrounded by art which strikes
memories is a benefit for all.
Museums Making a Difference
In addition to art experiences at home, museums
nationwide are beginning to recognize the ability
they have to give loved ones with memory loss a
place to regain a piece of their formal selves.
New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the
Hearthstone Alzheimer’s Family Foundation have
created “Meet Me at MoMA”, for both loved ones and
caregivers. It is tailored to the memory impaired
and available once a month, during a time in which
the museum closes. This helps eliminate the anxiety
many loved ones feel in crowds, and allows for a
much more enriching experience.
The New York University School of Medicine has
evaluated the program, and found that effects were
positive. Caregivers report fewer problems during
the week following the visit to the museum. Loved
ones show better moods and self-esteem, while
caregivers also feel an increase in support
Many museums in the New York area offer such
programs, including the Rubin Museum of Art in
Manhattan, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Modern
Museum of Modern Art, among others.
In the Midwest, the Walker Art Center in
Minneapolis hosts “Contemporary Journeys.” This tour
and art-marking program is available in two ways:
groups can schedule a tour or art lab in advance, or
individuals can register for regularly scheduled
Wisconsin’s Milwaukee Public Museum is one of ten
museums in that state which were awarded funding to
create programming for beginning to mid-stage
Alzheimer’s patients and those suffering with other
forms of dementia. In Milwaukee, SPARK! features
interactive exhibit experiences, through which
specially trained staff help with discussions,
object handling and other multi-sensory activities.
Another such endeavor is the “Connections
Program” at the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington,
Delaware. This group uses old costumes from a
variety of eras to spark memory and engagement from
loved ones with memory loss.