The "Joy of Art" for Elders is apparent the minute you show one an art object. Whether it's the Venus de Milo or the Mona Lisa, or a painting on the wall, seniors are almost compelled to become engrossed with it.
That's a big reason why we include many lovely paintings and statues in and around our San Clemente Villas assisted care, elder retirement community.
Everyone needs beauty in their life, especially those who suffer from dementia, or those who are caregivers.
It can be as simple as visiting a museum, or looking out at the beauty of nature just out the door.
For those with Alzheimer's, art can be a solace and time of reflection. Art asks nothing of the beholder, except to drink it in and feel the joy.
This is the aim of Artists for Alzheimer's (ARTZ). This organization makes the joy of seeing art and creating art, a part of the lives of those who suffer from dementia.
Volunteers go into assisted living communities and create an experience in paint, or watercolors for awaiting elders. ARTZ also plans monthly trips to local museums for patients and their caregivers.
Currently ARTZ is only found in New York City and Sacramento, but the affiliates are growing. One will soon be helping patients in the San Francisco area.
From their website at www.artistsforalzheimers.ort – "ARTZ uses artistic experiences as keys to unlock creativity, create new memories, strengthen and develop relationships, and enrich lives in fundamental ways."
“It just is thrilling to me to see one of my senior’s eyes light up,” said Tiffany Paige, founder of the Sacramento Chapter of ARTZ. “My goal is to enrich their lives through art, music, community outreach. They still have so much to give. They’re a rich resource and having purpose makes them feel more alive.”
Paige worked in the fashion industry for years, a graduate of Otis/Parsons School of Design, but she said “something was missing.” She began to get bored with the fashion scene. “I wanted to do something meaningful with my art,” said Paige. “I began to go to the library and do research.”
That research led her to working with dementia patients. When she learned about Artists for Alzheimer’s (ARTZ), she knew it had her name on it.
According to their website, ARTZ is an organization that links artists and cultural institutions to people living with dementia and their care partners. Influenced by science and sociology, ARTZ uses artistic and cultural experiences as keys to unlock creativity, create new memories, strengthen and develop relationships, and enrich lives in new, yet fundamental ways.
Tiffany has seen the magic that art brings to older people. Her regular visits bring original works of art to assisted living facilities and her visits have become a favorite in the Sacramento Area. Appreciating art doesn't require a good memory. Each person takes away something very personal from their exposure to art.
I watched Tiffany work with the elders and it was apparent they relished the experience. Some just had fun and painted with abandon, while others took if very seriously. Each used the same colors in such different ways.
One of the ladies was an experienced artist, yet hadn't painted in years. The colors she used were dark and dramatic, while her friend used nothing but bright orange and yellow. The self-expression in each piece was amazing.
No one has to wait for ARTZ to come to their area. All large cities have wonderful museums to enjoy and libraries filled with art books. We all should get a good dose of beauty every day, and what better way than to include art in our lives.
San Clemente Villas by the Sea is located at 660 Camino De Los Mares, San Clemente, CA 92673. Phone: (949) 682-7145 | Fax: (949) 234-0081. Contact me, Aileen Brazeau, Co-Owner of San Clemente Villas by the Sea. www.SanClementeVillas.com.