New Friends Care program addresses dementia through art
- Published: July 18, 2018
Friends Care Community is currently implementing a new program to aid residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia — by helping them express themselves through art.
Opening Minds through Art, or OMA, is an award-winning, evidence-based, intergenerational art-making program for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This program was developed by the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University to help those with dementia and Alzheimer’s work through cognitive impairment and maintain involvement in the community. Friends Care began implementing the eight-week program on July 1, and recently received a $1,500 grant from the Ohio Department of Medicaid to extend the program further.
The program is overseen by volunteers who have been trained in the OMA method at Miami University. Wendi Boggs is leading the program at Friends Care, assisted by Kevin Ferguson, an art teacher at Greenon High School. Boggs and Ferguson lead the art sessions, and residents work one-on-one with youth volunteers to help make the art. Residents make their own aesthetic decisions when it comes to the art — the volunteers simply help residents to reach their goals.
The art-making sessions will culminate in an art exhibition on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2–4 p.m., during Friends Care Community’s annual community ice cream social. The exhibition will celebrate the artists’ accomplishments and provide a space to educate the public on the creative capacities of people with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
After the initial eight week program, Friends Care will continue to implement OMA as part of the Friends Care Community’s activity program, guided by Activity Director Todd Sheets.
“The residents who have participated in OMA have enjoyed the art sessions and are very happy and proud of their completed artwork,” said Sheets. “I know that everyone that comes to our ice cream social in August will be as impressed with our artists’ creative art pieces as I am.”