Art & About Visits Yves St. Laurent Exhibit

One of the most important things we can keep in mind about persons with Alzheimer’s disease is that they have the same capacity to enjoy life as anyone else.  This means that entertainment, humor, inspiration, and more broadly the humanities (music, poetry, art, drama, etc.), all have the potential to move people, including those with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia.  Regardless of how early or advanced the disease might be, a person will still tap their foot to music, laugh at absurdity, and appreciate beauty in artistic expression.

Those who participate in our Early Stage programs get regular doses of fun and inspiration as they take part in regular poetry discussions, find ways to make each other laugh, and go on outings to places of interest in our community.  One of the most special of these is our bi-monthly trip to the Denver Art Museum (DAM), a program we call Art & About, and which was modeled after one that began several years ago at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.  These tours are led by docents who’ve received training from the Alzheimer’s Association about Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia including ways to communication effectively. The docents choose four or five pieces of art and involve groups of about 16 people in an extended discussion.

This week we had the privilege of taking our early stage group to see the very special Yves St. Laurent exhibit.  DAM accommodated the nearly 60 people who signed up by giving us a second day for our tour.  In addition, the museum allowed our group to tour the exhibit with our docents an hour before the museum opened to the public for the day.  This allowed for a “distraction-free” experience in which the discussions were easily heard and the incredible exhibit could be fully appreciated.  All the participants (including the men!) were awe-struck by the variety and creativity of styles created by St. Laurent.  We all look forward to the next tour in August….though this will be a tough one to beat!

Ken Helander

Alzheimer’s Association

Early Stage Services Manager