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Art program fosters connections for people with dementia

Apr 16, 2017 | Arts & Culture

The Alzheimer’s Association Western New York Chapter is offering a special art therapy presentation in May that is intended to demonstrate how artistic expression can counter the isolating effects of dementia and allow people to emotionally reconnect with loved ones.

Expressive Arts and Caregiving on Tuesday, May 2, is open to the public and may prove especially rewarding for family care partners, healthcare professionals and volunteers.

“Alzheimer’s disease destroys brain cells, breaking down the networks that allow our brains to function properly. Over time, people lose the ability to form new memories, understand words and communicate verbally,” advises Chapter Dementia Education Specialist Andrea Koch. “However, areas of the brain involved in movement, music and art often persevere late into the disease and the arts help people with dementia express their authentic selves.”

Koch has worked as an art therapist and managed a team of art, music and dance/movement therapists in Chicago. She has seen firsthand that art making, art viewing, dance and music can have numerous benefits for people with dementia, including:
• Providing an outlet for socialization, relaxation, self- reflection and fun
• Promoting fine motor skills and increasing range of motion
• Engaging people with dementia and their loved ones in an activity they can enjoy

The program will be offered on May 2 at the WNY Chapter office at 2805 Wehrle Drive, Suite 6 (at the corner of Harris Hill) in Williamsville from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The program is free to attend, but reservations are required by calling 1-800-272-3900.

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