Tuesday, November 10, 2009

ArtistsFor Alzheimers

There was a presentation at the recent Alzheimer's Partnership Conference I went to in Peabody, Mass-by Artists for Alzheimers - an organization that promotes art, music and theater to help victims of Alzheimer's. The concept is fascinating although I don't understand how anybody can say that abilities to enjoy the arts does not diminish. My mother absolutely lost the ability to understand what she was seeing and spent more and more time with her eyes closed. The circus would have terrified her as did the costumed door man at the Magic Show. However, music remained powerful and much appreciated up until the end.
John Zeisel the president of Hearthstone Alzheimer Care developed the Artists for Alzheimer’s™ program, which involves guided museum tours for people with the disease. Check out his blog with a video demonstration of how a troupe of actors interact and stimulate the residents: I'm Still Here
I think that it is wonderful that the residents are receiving this great stimulation but does it really take professional actors, trained museum guides, etc.? I have found that people in institutions simply crave attention, interaction, the human touch and often times looking at family photos, hearing familiar songs from their youth and being amongst lively people is all that they need to come alive. However, I ordered Dr. Zeisel's book to check out.


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