Apr 3, 2010

Center's Alzheimer's patients paint what they can't say

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Various interpretations of an image of trees created by participants of the Memories...
It's been decades since Howard Saunders retired as a draftsman, but once a week for the past six years, the 88-year-old picks up a paintbrush and spends the afternoon creating images. It's a routine he rarely breaks-and one that has helped him better cope with the effects of Alzheimer's disease. On a recent Tuesday, Saunders carefully added the final spots and details to a cheetah painting.

Saunders is part of the Memories in the Making art program, aimed at using art to help those afflicted with Alzheimer's and dementia piece their memories back together. The Alzheimer's Association of Northern California has operated the program for more than a decade, and currently offer classes at 30 residential and adult day programs throughout the Bay Area, including Cupertino, Los Gatos and San Jose.

Organizers say the program often stimulates a memory that has sat dormant for years and helps participants regain their ability to communicate.

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Bob DeMarco is the editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. Bob has written more than 1,300 articles with more than 9,000 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room