Cognitive Therapy for Seniors with Dementia

Memory loss, or dementia, can leave both the senior and family members suffering form loneliness, sadness and the challenges of daily living knowing forgetting will be part of each day.  New therapies are being researched, but integrating art as one therpy has proven to be positive.

Bob Tell, author of Dementia-Diary, A Caregiver's Journal, shares this guest blog post with us.

In March, 2010, I wrote a piece for my blog (http://caregiverchronicle.blogspot.com/) entitled "Can Painting Help Dementia Sufferers?" I was so impressed with this concept that I suggested to the person in charge of art for the library in Boynton Beach, Florida, that, considering the demographics in the area, she consider starting a program like this. Maybe it was budget considerations, but I never heard from her.

Now, along comes Cognitive Dynamics a website devoted to what they call "Bringing Art To Life." In my opinion, they are doing exciting work showing the potential of people with dementia to enjoy an enhanced quality of life and to find ways to express themselves that are not word-dependent.

See their video, "Bringing Art to Life in Beverly Hills" as well as their website and I bet you'll agree with me that they are onto something fabulous. And it's not just art therapy. Their program includes music, drama and poetry therapy as well as art. 

They describe their mission as:"To improve the quality of life of patients with cognitive disorders (such as Alzheimer’s disease) and their caregivers through education, research, and support of innovative care models which promote human dignity, especially therapies employing the expressive arts."

So I suggest becoming familiar with the work of Daniel Potts, a Neurologist with a special interest in cognitive enhancement for dementia patients, and Ellen Woodward Potts, Co-author of A Pocket Guide for the Alzheimer's Caregiver, Managing Partner at Dementia Dynamics, LLC and instructor at the University of Alabama. These folks are shining a much needed light onto the darkness of our current knowledge of dementia.

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Comments (1) -

  • Michele Finley

    10/21/2011 4:06:48 PM | Reply

    I just spent a week helping my parents get my mother,the artist, to an art workshop taught by someone she has wanted to study with for the past 20 yrs. My mother has been painting for 40 years and has MS and is wheelchair bound. She made a comment that she had never seen so many men in a workshop. While I was keeping a eye on her needs I couldn't stop looking at my dad who was completely mezmerized during the demonstrations. My heart warmed to see them both so totally focused as I see my dad in the early stages of dementia. We would not have made it the first day due to the fact that he couldn't grasp to logistics to get my mother there. Anything out of the norm or comfort zone seemd to set him off. I persevered and helped him through the week walking a fine line. Seeing the other men painting I can't help but think they were benefited by the weeks activities.

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