Connecting with Alzheimer’s Patients Through Art and Storytelling

Connecting with Alzheimer’s Patients Alzheimer’s disease and dementia steal so much from those they impact, and it can be a challenge, even for those in the medical field, to relate to exactly what they’re feeling and trying to express. According to Marcia Childress, University of Virginia School of Medicine’s associate professor of medical education explains, “It’s frightening to take care of someone you don’t understand.”

In an effort to bridge the gap, two interesting ideas have been tested with great success. Most recently, a 90-minute art museum field trip for medical students paired with Alzheimer’s patients and their families allowed for interaction through viewing, discussing, and creating art together. Before and after results of the Dementia Attitudes Scale survey, completed by the med students, showed an increase in their comfort level with Alzheimer’s patients, and allowed them to focus on their capabilities rather than their limitations.

Another promising means of creating a connection is through the creative storytelling program TimeSlips, in which dementia patients are shown surreal pictures (such as an elephant resting on a bench) in a group setting, and encouraged to express their thoughts on what they see. Medical students then work with the group to create a poem compiled from the patients’ responses.

At Home Sweet Home In-Home Care, we’re always excited to learn of advances in caring for and enhancing the lives of those with Alzheimer’s, and have put together a brief video with some additional tips on improving communications. We invite you to contact us any time for more Alzheimer’s resources, and to allow us to share with you how our specialized dementia care training allows our caregiving team to provide the highest level of care possible for your loved one with Alzheimer’s. We provide a full range of in-home care services in Cass, Berrien, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties, and look forward to serving you!

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