House of Mercy Will Offer Alternative Art Program for Those Suffering Dementia

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Provided by House of Mercy

Inspired by a program on public television in December 2014 entitled “I Remember Better When I Paint”, a group of talented and empathetic volunteers at the House of Mercy in Manassas have come together to offer an Alternative Art class for people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Much research concerning this topic, such as in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease has proven that in addition to being enjoyable for the students, the class helps forge companionship, stimulate memories, and slightly increase cognition. The debut of the first four-week class, which meets on four consecutive Tuesday mornings at 10:00 am, is June 9 at House of Mercy. These classes will run intermittently through the summer and into the autumn.

A collage produced by a person at House of Mercy. The Alternative Art Class will explore various media, including collage. The value is found in the process, not necessarily in the final art product.

A collage produced by a person at House of Mercy. The Alternative Art Class will explore various media, including collage. The value is found in the process, not necessarily in the final art product.

“This will be a journey for all of us”, states Ann Cimini, Executive Director of House of Mercy states. “I know that the facilitators will learn as much, or more, from the students, than they from us. Art is a Universal Language, and it is intriguing that creating art will actually validate their memories and help increase what they remember. Our deep thanks to artist Anne Moore, who has spent long hours researching the topic and creating beautiful classes for our students.”

The other benefit to the two hour program is that the caregiver who brings the artist to the class will have a chance for camaraderie at House of Mercy, whether just sharing coffee with other caregivers, or volunteering for various ministries. “We consciously chose Tuesday mornings”, said Ann Cimini, Executive Director of HOM, “because of the high energy, fun, and welcoming group who volunteer on Tuesdays. We wanted to ensure the caregiver has a chance to decompress and feel welcome, to give them a chance to relax.”

There will be a maximum of eight students in the class, along with three facilitators and Ms. Moore. The first 15 minutes will be spent be an introduction to art genres and famous artworks. Following this, the artists will draw upon their own experiences to create personal masterpieces.

The class is free of charge. There will be additional offerings of this course offered during the summer. House of Mercy requests art supplies, specifically craypas, watercolor paper, and acrylic paints. For more information or to register a student, please call House of Mercy at 703-659-1636, or email [email protected].

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