Sunday, 14 April 2013

Art and its use in dementia

Although I struggle with drawing these days and can not remember which colours to mix when painting I find art is a very useful subject and tool to use with people who have dementia, as it allows us all to express ourselves in our own way.

Modern art means nothing to many older people, yet when I was at a meeting in an Alzheimer's Cafe once a local artist hung some of his paintings on the wall, and encouraged people to discuss what they could see, in each.

This was an interesting experience as to be honest I did not like modern art, as I could not understand what it was or what it was trying to say, yet after an hour in that room I was hearing peoples ideas which all started to make some sort of sense.

The odd thing about this was that each person seemed to see something slightly different in each picture, so it proves that although our brain is affected by an illness, we can still see things that are not always obvious to others.

I found this with photography, as many of my friends who I met since being diagnosed with lewy body dementia love photography, as they can express themselves in a different way.
One such friend once said that we tend to forget the settings at times, but through digital photography its not too expensive when we make mistakes, and the results can be very interesting.

This is because we sometimes take shots that no one else would bother with, and the results can be very interesting and remarkable.

So it proves that art in all its forms should be looked at and used when trying to help people who have this illness.

Sadly in the North East of England where I live there are very few places where these ideas can be seen in practice, unless you travel many miles and then that causes tiredness before you even start.


However I am hopeful that in the near future many new art clubs will be set up for people with all disabilities including dementia I did go to one local art club for people with disabilities but the noise was so horrific that I just gave up. This was caused by people going just to talk rather than learn or do art projects, but as many people know noise is counter productive in a room where there are people with dementia. But I think this event was badly organised and run, so perhaps something else will come up soon.

But I encourage groups to use art in all its forms to get people with dementia involved.








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