Alzheimer’s Association & High Museum Collaborate on Statewide Virtual Art Program for people living with Alzheimer’s
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to threaten the health of millions around the world, the U.S. and here, in Georgia, social distancing is now the new norm. In response to the COVID-19 recommendations, the Alzheimer’s Association is now offering a monthly virtual art program through their collaboration with the High Museum.
This program is available statewide and to all those living with MCI or early stages of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia and their care partners. The community of Georgians living with a diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), Early Stage Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia, and those who love and support them, have found a way to stay close with a little bit of creativity and technology.
Before COVID-19 hit, the program called “Musing Together” was a monthly tour program conducted at the High Museum. The tours serve groups of visitors in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, along with their care partners. A teaching artist leads participants through the galleries and encourages them to discover themselves and one another through conversations about artworks and their life stories. Groups explore the galleries and discuss everything from contemporary art to folk art. Participants talk to each other, talk to their caregivers, and build a sense of community.
“We are very happy to continue Musing Together online. This new virtual format has given us the opportunity to discuss artworks that aren’t currently on view at the High, and to connect the collection to works outside our walls,” shared Laurel Humble, Head of Creative Aging and Lifelong Learning at the High Museum of Art. “Last month we had a very rich conversation about Street Art, and in our next session we’ll switch gears and focus on Henri Matisse. Talking about art can prompt new and meaningful conversations with friends and loved ones, and helps us stay connected to the world more broadly, which is increasingly essential in our current moment.”
“Early-Stage” refers to people, irrespective of age, who are diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment, Alzheimer’s disease or related disorders in the beginning stages of the disease. Carpe Diem Club is the name of the evidence-based Early Stage Program of the Georgia Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Members meet to learn, share, support and have fun.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2018 Dementia Care Practice Recommendations, it is important to adopt a positive, hopeful approach to care in all stages of dementia in order to encourage the person who has received a diagnosis and their care partners.
“Art is a universal language”, added Mary Caldwell, Alzheimer’s Association Early Stage Program manager. “Our group which includes people with early stage dementia diagnosis are able to listen, learn and be heard. All the participants were excited and loved the program. Social engagement with people living with the disease and their care partners is critical, particularly during this challenging time”, she added.
In addition to the virtual art classes, Alzheimer’s Association offers other virtual education, programs and support groups throughout the state. To learn more, visit http://alz.org/Georgia.
More than 16 million family and friends, including 540,000 in Georgia, provide unpaid care to people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias in the United States. To help family caregivers navigate the current complex and quickly changing environment, the Alzheimer’s Association has also offered additional guidance to families at alz.org/COVID19
For more information, call 1-800-272-3900.
Additional Facts and Figures:http://www.alz.org/facts/
● Alzheimer’s disease is the fifth-leading cause of death in Georgia.
● More than five million Americans are living with the disease, including 150,000 Georgia residents — a number estimated to grow to as many as 190,000 by year 2025.
● More than 16 million family and friends, including 540,000 in Georgia, provide unpaid care to people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias in the United States.
● In 2019, friends and family of those with Alzheimer’s in Georgia provided an estimated 615 million hours of unpaid care, a contribution valued more than $8 billion.
About the Alzheimer’s Association: The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s.
About the Alzheimer’s Association – Georgia Chapter: The Georgia Chapter provides patient and family services, information and referral, education, and advocacy throughout Georgia. We provide a variety of services including a 24/7 Helpline, support groups, educational programs, and MedicAlert®. We offer opportunities to get involved and to make a difference. For more information about Alzheimer’s disease or the Alzheimer’s Association Georgia Chapter, visit http://www.alz.org/georgia or call (800) 272-3900.
Courtesy: Alzheimer’s Association