The Alzheimer’s Association Memories in the Making® program offers creative art expression for individuals with early to the middle stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Even after people with dementia have lost the ability to use words, they are able to paint their thoughts, emotions and memories in a manner that is expressive and beautiful. Art becomes their voice.
The Early-Stage Social Engagement Program offers a fun and comfortable way for people living in the early stage of Alzheimer's or other dementia to get out, get active and get connected with one another through a variety of social events and community-based activities determined by individual needs and interests of the participants and that promote social interaction and companionship.
On Saturday, July 12, 2014, a Memories in the Making® session was held at Allô Chocolat in Waukesha as part of the Early-Stage Social Engagement Program. Seven Waukesha residents living with dementia and their care partners came together to enjoy expressing themselves through painting watercolor. The resulting paintings will be on display at Martha Merrell Bookstore in Waukesha throughout the month of August.
Kuei and Monty Johnson
Untitled - Kuei
Kuei told us she is from Taiwan, a very small island with mountains. Although her painting is untitled, she captured her homeland's scenery.
Pink Tree on a Yellow Field - Monty
Monty worked with all the medium and layered to achieve a depth of color.
"It didn't turn out as I expected," he said. That's art!
View the MIM video with Angel Duncan.
The goal of the program is to offer an emotionally safe environment with positive messages. It is designed to be fun but also serves as a communication tool for families and professional caregivers to learn more about the person with dementia.
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. The experience also provides professional caregivers and families with an avenue to learn more about the person with dementia.
Memories in the Making programs meet weekly in small groups under the guidance of a care professional and art facilitator who have been specially trained to work with individual with memory loss and dementia. For most of the individuals who enroll and participate in the group, this is their first time painting.
The Memories in the Making program is seeking art facilitators, please see the flyer concerning this opportunity.
For more information please contact Nancy Armitage, Memories in the Making coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Benefits to those with Alzheimer’s disease
Encourages decision-making and independence
Counteracts social isolation, encourages socialization
Improves communication social skills, motor coordination and manual dexterity
Improves mental alertness through problem solving, vision memory, concentration and imagination
Provides an acceptable and safe alternative for venting emotions
Facilities currently offering Memories in the Making® at their sites:
Fond du Lac:
All About Life
Gables of Germantown
Brookside Care Center
Casa Del Mare
Kettle Moraine Gardens
The Highlands at Newcastle
Aurora Adult Day Center
Jewish Home and Care Center
Milwaukee Catholic Home
Milwaukee Center for Independence
St. Anne's Salvatorian
St. John's on the Lake
The Villa at River Parkway
United Community Center
VA - Milwaukee
Shorehaven Adult Day Center
Ridgewood Care Center
Azura Memory Care
Wisconsin Veteran's Home
Heritage Homes Assisted Living
Curative Adult Day Care
Waukesha Springs Health and Rehabilitation