Posted on July 2, 2012 at 4:22 PM
SAN ANTONIO -- People with Alzheimer’s disease often feel bad about the things they can’t do anymore. But a new program in San Antonio is using a creative way to help draw out memories.
Each Monday at Franklin Park Stone Oak, Alzheimer’s patients are transformed from residents to artists.
The Alzheimer’s Association program is called Memories in the Making. While men and women who have the memory-robbing disease often lose thinking and communication skills, they still have the motor skills and the memories to paint, dipping into their past to come up with a new creation.
“It’s your own expression,” said local artist Gina Reese. “It’s something that comes from within. And everyone can do it. Nothing has to be perfect.”
“And so maybe they don’t remember where their lunchroom is, but they’ll remember something from their past,” she added.
Reese is the guide for the patients. She serves as part teacher, part cheerleader.
“When people lose their inhibitions, that’s not a good thing,” explained Peggy Connelly, vice president of Dementia Services for Franklin Park. “But when people lose their inhibitions in an art program, they’re more willing to try new things, sometimes things that they wouldn’t normally take part in.”
Some of the creations are hung on a gallery wall with stories to match. The art may be sold to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association.
“It’s good for everybody,” Reese commented. “And for me as an artist, it’s just fulfilling more than probably anything else I’ve done with my art.”
Franklin Park Stone Oak is the first facility in San Antonio to use Memories in the Making. The Alzheimer’s Association hopes it will spread to other locations here soon.