Using art as a communication tool for people with memory loss

By Staff blogger/ February, 2018

One of the challenges that those with Alzheimer’s disease face is losing their ability to verbally express themselves. Our program, Memories in the Making (MIM), provides those with dementia with a powerful, non-verbal communication tool: expression through art.

Our Memories in the Making program promotes self-expression and communication through painting. Under the guidance of an art facilitator trained specifically to work with individuals with memory loss and dementia, participants are able to express their messages through creating beautiful works of art. Through expert facilitation techniques, our art facilitators guide individuals through their painting process and engage them in storytelling through their art. Through Memories in the Making, it is common for participants to paint memories from long ago or use images to express what they can no longer communicate using words. Memories in the Making often inspires participants to engage in conversation and reminisce about life experiences, and has been shown to improve self-esteem, increase focus, and allow for a productive outlet of emotions.

Last December, we hosted our annual Holiday Open House where we debuted the latest collection of Memories in the Making artwork for the upcoming year. The pieces were painted by 32 Memories in the Making participants throughout Orange County in 2017. We hand-curated the collection, and generous framers in the community donated their services to complete the masterpieces. At this event, we raised nearly $6,000 through selling these paintings and notecards. Read more about our event that was covered in the OC Register. 

Our Memories in the Making program is offered weekly throughout Orange County at different assisted living communities and adult day centers. To learn more about Memories in the Making, click here.