Feb 24, 2010

Cleveland Clinic and Cleveland Art Museum Team Up for Alzheimer's Program

The Cleveland Clinic is Teaming up with the Cleveland Art Museum for a Special Program for Dementia Patients.....

By Max Wallack
Alzheimer's Reading Room

According to Kaye Spector in an article on Cleveland.com, in Alzheimer’s disease, “areas that govern emotion, perception and creativity often remain intact.”

Forty tour leaders at the Cleveland Museum of Art are being taught how to tailor tours to patients that have Alzheimer’s disease. These special tours will begin this summer.

Physicians in the Cleveland area are being advised to encourage dementia patients and their caregivers to sign up for these tours. Apparently, similar tours are already being offered at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

According to Dr. Randolph Schiffer of the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, “It makes good sense if you think about the neurology of the disease. Art can be a way to reach and maintain the healthy areas” of the brain.

Schiffer also said that there is a trend among physicians to treat Alzheimer’s from more than just a medical perspective. He said that there isn’t a great deal of research on the affects of art and music on Alzheimer’s patients, but he admits that physicians do see it.

I know I certainly have witnessed it again and again. The Alzheimer's patients are "more there" when they are engaged in creative activities like art, music, and puzzles.

Nancy Udelson, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association of Cleveland said “patients in the early stages of disease will benefit most from the art tours.”

I think they may get a big surprise. Having seen the film, “I Remember Better When I Paint,” they may find that advanced dementia patients may seem to them like early stage patients when they are being exposed to these art experiences.

Editor note: If you live near an art museum you might consider sharing this article with them. Some local libraries might also be able to do something like this. We have art in our library that is basically on loan. Your local library could use this model to plan an event that might run a couple of weeks. It might help them with public relations and to raise money for books.

Also see: "I Remember Better When I Paint: Treating Alzheimer's through the Creative Arts"

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I Remember Better When I Paint: Treating Alzheimer's through the Creative Arts
"I Remember Better When I Paint"

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

Original content Max Wallack, the Alzheimer's Reading Room