Art therapy has been used with great success in several populations, however the most surprising one could be patients with progressed Alzheimer’s and dementia. It may seem counter-intuitive to think seniors who have trouble remembering loved ones or meaningful memories would be stimulated by art but, says Michal Herz of EMDA, the Alzheimer’s Association of Israel, “exploring art on a routine basis can open new windows into the hearts, minds and souls of people with dementia.”

Families served by EMDA’s outings said they especially enjoyed museum tours with their elder family members because it provided an opportunity to communicate in a way that wasn’t possible otherwise. Based on these accounts and their own observations, Herz and her co-workers created an Art Kit, based on the “Meet Me at MOMA” program.

Jacob Lawrence. Street Shadows 1959

Jacob Lawrence. Street Shadows 1959. Source: moma.org

 

MOMA art kit picasso

MOMA art kit picasso CD. Source: israel21c.org

 

The Art Kit allows families to print famous pieces of art, which are mounted on poster board. The kit includes insightful questions, that family members can use to facilitate conversations about the art. When all is said and done, the Art Kit creates a virtual museum tour anywhere, at home, senior living communities, or even at the hospital.

We are inspired by this idea, although we can’t say we’re surprised. Our own research into senior care has shown how color and personality are key to helping seniors feel at home in a new environment. These kits are another way for seniors and their family members and/or caretakers to connect, and human connection is really what it’s all about.

Contact Leslie Saul & Associates Architecture and Interiors if you’re interested in senior care designs that foster a sense of connection and community.