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without any effective form of artistic/emotional stimulation, have often gone unused for years.

Observations and evaluations carried out as part of the ARTZ program have shown improvement in participants’ access to memories (whether for recent event or events long passed), improvement in verbal expression, ability to focus attention for longer periods, heightened mood, more engaging social interactions and a greater sense of self.  We have also seen that memories of the art experiences stay with them in an incredible way.  The link between art and quality of life among those living with Alzheimer’s seems self-evident and deserves to be made more profound. This program is a relatively inexpensive form of treatment because it consists of making available an existing and available cultural history which itself is a treatment.

Perception and Stigma For many cultural institutions, people with Alzheimer’s disease are usually not thought of as participants or members.  This may stem from a lack of education about the realities of Alzheimer’s disease, societal stigma, or the presence of a misinformed media that as a rule portrays Alzheimer’s as a hopeless, untreatable condition.

This negative portrayal is simply not accurate.  While Alzheimer’s disease does affect short-term memory and the ability to complete some complex tasks—such as cooking a gourmet meal or driving an automobile—it has far less impact on perception, emotional awareness, and creative sensibilities.  A person living with Alzheimer’s can comprehend visual art, music, and performance art on a deep, emotional level—even if it may not be apparent to a casual observer. In many ways, individuals with Alzheimer’s are more “in tune,” if you will, with the subtleties and multi-layered complexities that art conveys. Simply put, art reaches out to the person with Alzheimer’s and helps restore to them a sense of self, dignity, and connection with the outside world. The ARTZ Alzheimer’s training program enables museums to connect to this underserved population.

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