We all know an older person who tells the same stories over and over. We patiently listen, although we’ve heard the anecdote countless times before. But what if someone dear to you suddenly couldn’t describe details of the day they made that winning touchdown, caught that big fish or met their spouse? What if they didn’t even seem to know whether you were their daughter or their neighbor?
“Memories in the Making,” an art technique created by the Alzheimer’s Association, provides a way for those with memory loss to share pieces of their past when words no longer come easily to them.
“It is essentially a failure-free session of artistic expression using specialized paint, brushes and high quality artists’ paper,” explained Lindsey Tusing, marketing director at Aegis of Redmond, an assisted living community where many of the residents have Alzheimer’s disease.
Both Tusing and Aegis of Redmond activity director Susie Sather are certified instructors for the program, which they try to offer on a weekly basis. Participation varies because Alzheimer’s is so unpredictable. An individual’s lucidity and their willingness to engage with others may come and go.
“It’s kind of a toss-up, depending on how they woke up that day and what’s happened since then,” said Tusing. “Sometimes from day to day or even hour to hour, their level of functioning changes.”
When they choose to paint, “the results are often breathtaking, and sometimes heart