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Art makes impact on dementia patients

  |   April 30, 2012 at 10:49 PM
GLENS FALLS, N.Y., April 30 (UPI) -- An Albany, N.Y.-area program offers art gallery tours for Alzheimer's and dementia patients, for both patient and caregiver enrichment, program officials say.

The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, N.Y., created "Here and Now" -- an art appreciation program for people with Alzheimer's and dementia that allows the visitors and their caregivers to look at and critique art and engage their minds without relying on memory, the Albany Times Union reported.

The purpose of the program, modeled after one created by Museum of Modern Art in New York, is to engage the minds of people experiencing memory loss, and give their caregivers a meaningful outing, said June Leary, the museum's curator for education.

The Hyde has hosted several groups, including one from a nearby nursing home.

Museum guides are specially trained to work with dementia patients and to spark conversations about the art by asking questions and explaining the story behind the pictures, Leary said.

Beth Boivin, director of Albany Medical Center's Alzheimer's Resource Center, said many with dementia might not be able to balance a checkbook or remember things from their past but they still are positively affected by the things they see.

"It's so neat to watch a husband and wife of 50 years, who have lost the ability to do so many things, come together in these museum settings and participate in a program," Boivin told the Times Union.

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