The Alzheimer’s Association and the High Museum of Art are collaborating to offer a monthly virtual art program for those living with forms of dementia.
This program is available statewide and to all those living with Mild Cognitive Impairment or early stages of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia and their care partners. The community of Georgians living with a diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment, Early Stage Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia, and those who love and support them, have found a way to stay close with a little bit of creativity and technology.
Before COVID-19 hit, the program called “Musing Together” was a monthly tour program conducted at the High Museum. The tours serve groups of visitors in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, along with their care partners.
A teaching artist leads participants through the galleries and encourages them to discover themselves and one another through conversations about artworks and their life stories. Groups explore the galleries and discuss everything from contemporary art to folk art. Participants talk to each other, talk to their caregivers, and build a sense of community.
“We are very happy to continue Musing Together online," Head of Creative Aging and Lifelong Learning at the High Museum of Art, Laurel Humble said. "This new virtual format has given us the opportunity to discuss artworks that aren't currently on view at the High, and to connect the collection to works outside our walls."
"Early-Stage" refers to people, irrespective of age, who are diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment, Alzheimer's disease or related disorders in the beginning stages of the disease. Carpe Diem Club is the name of the evidence-based Early Stage Program of the Georgia Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. Members meet to learn, share, support and have fun.
“Talking about art can prompt new and meaningful conversations with friends and loved ones, and helps us stay connected to the world more broadly, which is increasingly essential in our current moment,” Humble said.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2018 Dementia Care Practice Recommendations, it is important to adopt a positive, hopeful approach to care in all stages of dementia in order to encourage the person who has received a diagnosis and their care partners.
“Art is a universal language," Alzheimer’s Association Early Stage Program manager Mary Caldwell said. “Our group which includes people with early stage dementia diagnosis are able to listen, learn and be heard. All the participants were excited and loved the program. Social engagement with people living with the disease and their care partners is critical, particularly during this challenging time."
More than 16 million family and friends, including 540,000 in Georgia, provide unpaid care to people with Alzheimer's or other dementias in the United States. To help family caregivers navigate the current complex and quickly changing environment, the Alzheimer’s Association has also offered additional guidance to families at .
In addition to the virtual art classes, Alzheimer’s Association offers other virtual education, programs and support groups throughout the state. To learn more, visit .