Art Therapy for Persons with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias

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Art Therapy for Persons with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias

Restoring Voice and Memories

Glen's Daughter Ashley Campbell and Art Therapist Angel Duncan,

Kim Campbell and Angel Duncan at event to promote Alzheimer's awareness

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.@ArtTherapyOrg improves quality of life for Alzheimer's patients http://3bl.me/htghmk #Alzheimers #arttherapy

Summary

Art therapy is the catalyst to provide the voice and the memories of those who have lost their ability to articulate their life stories, their emotions and thought processes.  At a recent screening of Glen Campbell’s documentary, I’ll Be Me, a panel of professionals led by Angel Duncan MA-MFT, ATR, answered questions about Alzheimer’s disease and the benefits of expressive art therapies.  Angel Duncan was able to meet with the Campbell family who shared how Glen has been able to benefit from engaging in art therapy.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - 8:00am

CONTENT: Article

Alzheimer's is on the rise and it will affect every one of us at some point. We will either be caring for someone with it, in the throes of it ourselves, or know someone who has it. Persons with dementias commonly experience neuropsychiatric symptoms that weaken their quality of life. Pharmacologic treatments for these symptoms are limited in their efficacy, yet are more readily relied upon to help control behaviors. Typically, psychotropic medications cause sedation, and patients are often isolated and unable to participate in activities. Art therapy is another way to help ease behaviors and improve quality of life with dignity that is cost effective and brings people together, even daring to extract life meaning and memories through active participation. Numerous research studies have shown the benefits of art therapy to help ease symptoms and sustain quality of life by bridging relationships, activating neural connectivity, decreasing stressors, improving mood and providing a sense of autonomy. With appropriate structure, persons with dementia can produce and appreciate art. Case studies and several small trials suggest that art therapy engages attention, provides pleasure, and improves neuropsychiatric symptoms, social behavior, and self-esteem.

Art therapy is not just about helping the person with dementia, but also supports caregivers. When working in tandem with one another by engaging in the art process and exploring thoughts and feelings with the art therapist, relationships change. Art therapy has proven to be an effective tool in enhancing quality of life. As more attention is given to art therapy for persons with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, healthcare professionals are learning to appreciate its healing mechanisms and incorporate art therapy sessions for their residents.

The Villas at Terracina Grand in Naples, Florida, recently held their grand opening for a new state-of-the-art Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s care community. Kim Campbell, wife of country legend Glen Campbell, who is deep in the throes of Alzheimer’s disease, and their daughter, country musician Ashley Campbell were in attendance to promote Alzheimer’s awareness, dignified therapy programs, and Alzheimer’s’ research efforts. Art Therapist and Marriage and Family Therapist, Angel Duncan was able to meet and speak with both Kim and Ashley about Glen’s progression in Alzheimer’s disease, his attempts to engage in music and art therapies, and the work that Angel does in dementia research and care, along with the American Art Therapy Association's commitment in upholding best practices in art therapy for persons with neurological disorders. Both ladies were pleased to hear about the American Art Therapy Association, and the work being done to improve quality of life. At the film screening of Glen Campbell’s documentary, I’ll Be Me, held at Moorings Park in Naples, Florida, a panel of professionals led by Angel Duncan MA-MFT, ATR, along with two Johns Hopkins physicians, Neuropsychiatrist, Frederick Schaerf, M.D., Ph.D. and Internist, Michael Gloth, M.D. answered questions about Alzheimer’s disease and the benefits of expressive art therapies. The empowerment and science behind art therapy was validated, and as the public, caregivers and healthcare professionals start to embrace art therapy and art therapists, a trend is emerging among best clinical practices. Art therapy is the catalyst to provide the voice and the memories of those who have lost their ability to articulate their life stories, their emotions and thought processes.

Contact

American Art Therapy Association