The Art and Science of Alzheimer's (November 2017)

The Art and Science of Alzheimer's (November 2017) Alzheimer's Association: Montana

Hope without Hype

Yellowstone Art Museum and Docent Host Alzheimer's Symposium 

A two-day symposium was held at the Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, MT in collaboration with the Alzheimer's Association, Montana Chapter.

The purpose was to bring the health care providers, family members and artists together to widen their understanding of Alzheimer's and related dementias and importantly the connections between the science and art. One of the hardest parts of dementia is communication. Art is one way for someone to communicate their feelings and tell their story when they have lost many other ways of communicating.

The first day kicked off with Senator Jon Tester welcoming everyone and telling of his support for Alzheimer's research in Washington DC.

The Alzheimer's Association National office provided Dean Hartley, Director of Science Initiative, Medical and Scientific Relations, to speak to the attendees on what has been accomplished and what still needs to be done.

The art part was "Memories in Making " training. It is an art program to enhance communication.

Seniors who participated in this program were less depressed and less lonely than those that did not. They fell less often, visited their doctors fewer times and took fewer medications. After a program in art they slept better and ate better and were less agitated. Family members felt like they had a way to reconnect with their loved ones.

The results of this symposium have led to trainings across the state of Montana. The goal is to eventually have an art exhibit, "Memories in the Making," at the Yellowstone Art Museum and then travel the state to bring awareness and hope to those professionals and family members that have been impacted by someone with Alzheimers.

Another outcome from the symposium is ongoing outreach by speakers on a monthly basis, across the state of Montana on the advances in Alzheimer's research.

By Karen Fried, Docent, Yellowstone Art Museum and NDSC Regional Director

Photo courtesy of Alzheimer's Association: Montana