For people with Alzheimer's, a world grown confusing, overwhelming, and maybe even frightening has been comforted a little by a palette of watercolor paints and blank piece of paper. With the encouragement of a volunteer art facilitator, these artists glide their brushes on paper forming meaningful works of art. Participants in this program can feel a real sense of accomplishment and achievement while living with memory loss. The Alzheimer’s Association’s Memories in the Making® (MIM) art program gives people with dementia the ability to paint their thoughts, emotions and memories. The art becomes their voice.
Benefits of Memories in the Making® to those with Alzheimer's disease:
-Improves self esteem
-Serves as an outlet for emotions
-Increase attention span and focus
-Reduces isolation and provides oppotunity to socialize
-Taps into pockets of memory that still exist
Through this experience, people with Alzheimer's are often able to reach outside of their dementia and paint a picture that reconnects them with a past memory. These documented memories become powerful tools that reassure family and caregivers that the essence of the individual is still there. For example, one artist painted a birdhouse sharing his lifelong love of building and hanging birdhouses in the yard. Another painted a fish remembering the hours spent nurturing his tanks of tropical fish.
What began in Colorado in 1994 as a pilot program at five sites has grown to over 90. The MIM art groups meet in various assisted-living communities, nursing homes, and adult day programs throughout the state. Click here to view a video of Memories in the Making artwork. The Memories in the Making program is currently seeking art facilitators, please see our flyer about this opportunity. The MIM groups are facilitated by staff and volunteers who are trained by the Alzheimer's Association Colorado Chapter.