Art has been used for centuries to help people express what they cannot put into words. Increasingly art is used to help people with Alzheimer’s disease. By encouraging participation in the creation process we may be able to unlock inner thoughts and feelings. Expressing what they’re feeling may be easier on paper than verbally. Freeing these emotions will help both those living with Alzheimer’s and those caring for them.
My Life and Art
Art is part of my everyday life. As a professional photographer I spend my days creating beautiful images for my clients. Appreciating photography from around the world via Instagram is another way to keep my creative spirit alive. One evening I stumbled upon an account called Alzheimer’s Art, and had to lean more. As a result I discovered this account belongs to a young man with a Mother with younger onset Alzheimer’s and a Grandmother with Alzheimer’s. This knowledge made me even more interested. We chatted a bit via private message which led to asking him to tell his story on my podcast.
Using creativity, Adam helps his Mom and Grandma express what they’re feeling. These interactions give all three of them a relaxing way to connect to each other. These connections are priceless and Adam decided to share the artistic results with the world.
In the very short time with his Instagram account Adam has talked to people on every continent. These communications has made Adam realize there was more to what he was doing than just helping his family members. Needless to say, this has caused quite a shock. His is a touching story you won’t want to miss!
Listen to this episode, you’ll find Adams story interesting and compelling. You can find his Instagram account here.
Some Great Related Links
Two Lap Books – A Great Way To Connect!
Two-Lap Books are Read-Aloud Boosk for Memory-Challenged Adults, People with Alzheimer’s disease (and other forms of memory impairment) gradually lose their ability to initiate communication with others. Because of this Lydia designed these uniquely adapted books to “give voice” to them. By using the book’s large, simple text and colorful illustrations we can initiate conversation. Most noteworthy, reading books together can make meaningful connections with our loved ones and help stimulate their minds. Because of this, caregivers will enjoy sharing these books and creating purposeful, interactive activities for engaging people with memory deficits.
For that reason, in this episodeI have a conversation with the author Lydia Burdick. We discussed these wonderful books and the inspiration behind their creation. I purchased two of her books and took them on a visit with Mom.
Reading the book together gave us the opportunity to laugh, talk about likes and dislikes and even sing a little. As a result, our visit was one of the better ones in a long time.
By sharing the books with two other residents made them as happy as it did Mom. All three ladies enjoyed the beautiful illustrations and relatable scenarios. Because each resident has their own level of reading ability they were able to read on their own. Regardless, reading together gave all three got a tremendous amount of pleasure from the books. I highly recommend these books for anyone dealing with a loved one with memory loss.
One of the biggest challenges to caring for someone living with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia is trying to figure out what’s going on in their mind. They don’t understand what’s happening so they can’t help us understand what they need. Not being able to communicate their needs causes fear or anxiety. Hopefully today’s conversation with Laurie will help us understand a bit better. Laurie Gunter Mantz, is the founder and CEO of Dementia Training for Life. She is also an Occupational Therapist, Educator and Certified Dementia Care Practitioner, Trainer and Care Manager. Dealing with both grandmothers in their challenges with dementia gives Laurie a personal insight into what we’re all dealing with.
Our conversation went many places and despite some technical challenges I feel this conversation is an important ones for my listeners to hear. Interviewing Laurie before I launched Fading Memories would have been fantastic for all of us. That’s how important our conversation was.
Some of the things we discussed include identifying behaviors and determining why they are happening. Laurie strongly encourages anyone who is showing signs of cognitive impairment to get a full diagnosis. In our conversation she tells the story of a man who was misdiagnosed and how that impacted his life. We discussed what to do as our loved ones progress with their disease and much more.
Sometimes my podcast conversations get a personal but I feel like that’s okay. Learning through my struggles, or anyone else’s struggles can help us all. Here’s hoping you get as much from this conversation as I did. I’m pretty sure you will.