Memory Café: Art Opens Doors to Socialization

As Art Facilitator Kim Willis walked around the room warmly encouraging participants in the “Opening Minds Through Art” activity, some expressed skepticism that the piece of art they were creating was going to be beautiful.

Prog_MemoryCafeArt“It’s magic,” said Willis, who coached participants of the “Opening Minds Through Art” activity how to gently sprinkle some glitter on their paper canvas as one of the last steps. The end result for these members of the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Early Stage Education and Support Group – a beautifully designed mixture of colors.

Opening Minds Through Art is an interactive activity specifically designed for people with dementia. Willis, who is community liaison for U.S. Medical Management and a chapter volunteer, said, “it utilizes art for more socialization. With this art program, you get to make decisions. You pick the colors and it validates you that you can do this art.”

Miami Valley Chapter’s Early Stage Social Engagement program
The activity is part of the Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley Chapter’s Early Stage Social Engagement programming which includes Memory Café and Movie Monday. Memory Café meets once a month and participants delve into different topics whether its music, genealogy or local history. In addition, participants also have a Movie Monday activity each month.

Sarah Cameron, Care and Support Coordinator, said, “Memory Café offers a fun and comfortable way for people living in the early stage of Alzheimer’s or other dementia and their care partners to get out, get active and get connected with one another. While this program is designed for individuals living with early-stage dementia and their care partners, it is open to community members as well.”

When & Where
The Memory Café occurs every fourth Friday of the month at the Dayton Metro Library Kettering-Moraine branch. The branch provides a warm and welcoming space for participants.

Margaret Brooks called her artwork Pathway to a new Beginning. “I really enjoyed it,” she said.

Jeannie Brandt said she told her husband Stephen they could either attend the Memory Café or go to water aerobics. Mr. Brandt said he enjoyed the activity more than he thought he would.

Willis said, “that socialization piece is what makes us who we are,” With Alzheimer’s and dementia, “that is the piece that gets lost.”

To learn more about the chapter’s Early Stage Programs, call 800.272.3900

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