Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Art and Alzheimer's, it's Personal

September marks the inaugural World Alzheimer's Month. Tomorrow, September 21st, is National Alzheimer's day. National Alzheimer's day is a call to action for everyone to spread awareness about this disease. According to this document in the Alzheimer's Association, it is the seventh leading cause of death and by mid-century it will reach epidemic levels. Sobering facts.

Many people have already grappled with this illness, as they have witnessed it take over a loved one's life. My own Grandmother was afflicted with the disease and eventually succumbed to it. It strikes people regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status. 

The wonderful news for people who are already afflicted, is that there are effective therapies available now. One treatment that is shown to be dramatically promising, is art therapy. What can you expect from art therapy? Improved communication and emotional memory, decreased anxiety, aggression, apathy and agitation, decreased symptoms of depression, relief from isolation, improved spontaneity and freedom, and utilization of imagination. For patients and caregivers, this is incredibly hopeful.

©Sara Krulwich, NY Times

New programs have been created at national museums so that groups of Alzheimer's patients can come through and tour, prompting memories and lively conversations. The programs started in the northeast and quickly spread out nationally. Our very own Orlando Museum of Art holds Art's the Spark monthly for early- and middle-staged Alzheimer's patients, and is free with registration. Check your local area museum to see if you have a similar program. As this NY Times article points out, both appreciating and making art seem to have their benefits.

Dr. John Zeisel, Ph.D. author of I'm Still Here: A New Philosophy of Alzheimer's Care, stated in an interview on NPR's "Here and Now" program that "the myth that people with Alzheimer's, that there are no memories, is busted" (sic). It has been determined that someone suffering with Alzheimer's will also remember better via visual aids. This can be as simple as photos of people they are closest with placed in an album, and labeled with their names. Dr. Zeisel, is co-founder with Sean Caulfield of ArtZ, which stands for Artist's for Alzheimer's. ArtZ (pronounced Arts) exists simply to improve the quality of life for those with Alzheimer's with art and art therapy. 

I am happy to announce that I am partnering with My Memories Software so that I can offer a discount on digital scrap booking software - a percentage of any referral proceeds that I receive will be donated to ArtZ! The discount is for $10 off My Memories Suite v2 and an additional $10 coupon to be used in the My Memories store.

To Use the Discount:

1. If you want the download go here
2. Add to cart.
3. In coupon/promo code box enter: STMMMS62509
(cut and paste to avoid typos)
4. Click Proceed to Checkout.
5. Register or Login to complete transaction, including payment details.
6. In your order confirmation email, you will receive the $10 coupon to use at the My Memories store. 
Note: You can install the MMSv2 software in up to 3 computers in your house. But if you ever get a new computer in your house, you can always download again - you have unlimited downloads!
Note: If you want the CD, go here, but you will be unable to use the promo code for the discount. But hey, you will have the CD! And, if you click through the link on my page, I can still donate to ArtZ. Win-win!
Technical note: This software is good for both Win and Mac computers. 

Please email, tweet or facebook this offer to your scrap booking friends so that we can spread the word - and let's do our part to help those with Alzheimer's. Thank you!

Also, look for an upcoming post - I'll be reviewing the My Memories Suite software and showing you what I, a newcomer to digital scrap booking, was able to create.

I also have one copy of My Memories Suite to give to one lucky recipient! 


  1. I came from LinkedIn~I have two family members that suffer from this. Breaks my heart~so glad we are looking for answers! Great blog post~

  2. Connie - thank you for sharing. I am so sorry, it is heart breaking to witness as a family member. With more awareness, and more research, there is hope for a cure and more effective treatments in the future. In the mean time, we can work on therapies for patients and caregivers alike.

    We're all in this together!...

  3. Hi Victoria~
    I picked you up through the thread about "needing Blog followers" So I'm hoping you will follow my blog back:):):)

  4. Hi Connie,
    I don't know if you noticed but I already found you through you comment above, and found your blog! It is so lovely! I commented on 2 of your posts.. Thanks for finding me, love your blog.