Phoenix-Area Organizations Use Art To Help People With Alzheimer's

By Kathy Ritchie
Published: Monday, December 11, 2017 - 7:19am
Updated: Monday, December 11, 2017 - 9:21am

Audio icon Download mp3 (1.77 MB)

(Photo by Kathy Ritchie - KJZZ)
Allyson Yoder (left) teaches creative aging dance classes.

Art is being used to help people with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias decrease stress, even communicate. And around the Valley, organizations, including Scottsdale Arts, are creating programs to help improve quality of life.

Allyson Yoder teaches creative aging dance classes. Today, she’s leading a group of caregivers and people with a dementia-related illness in a series of warm ups.

"We’re going to do a participatory dance day for about an hour and a half," Yoder said to the group.

Allyson Yoder said she was inspired to do this kind of work after seeing the types of activities offered to her grandparents.
(Video by Kathy Ritchie - KJZZ)

Yoder, 23, said she was inspired to do this kind of work after seeing the types of activities offered to her grandparents.

"It’s not that they were bad facilities but the recreation or arts opportunities that they had to engage in were very childish in a lot of way, like coloring, simplistic arts and craft," Yoder said.

And Scottsdale Arts doesn’t do simple.

"Right. Well, we work with performing artists, visual artists, artists of all different media," said Laura Hales, who is the curator of education at the Scottsdale Arts.

In October, Scottsdale Arts launched Memory Lounge. 

"Engaging in the arts will decrease anxiety and stress levels, it will also lower the symptoms of depression — all of those things that go along with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia," she said.

Dementia Friendly Tempe partnered with Scottsdale Arts and other organizations, including the Mesa Arts Center and the Phoenix Art Museum to support programs like this.

Next season, Hales said participants will be working on a fiber arts piece that will be built over three sessions. 

If you like this story, Donate Now!

Like Arizona Science Desk on Facebook