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Art for Alzheimer’s

By Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer

(Page 2 of 3)  

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 socially.

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 morning programs.

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.

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