HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A Glen Allen Cultural Arts Center program is aiming to give a place to caregivers and their loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia a place to get creative and open up their minds.
The Opening Minds Through Art Program leaders want to help the more than 20,000 people with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia living at home with an unpaid caregiver across the greater Richmond region.
When Linda Geoghegan’s sister told her she’d get to come back to the Opening Minds Through Art program for a second session, she smiled big, knowing she’d get to come back to the Cultural Arts Center to paint and create.
“She went, ‘Where we painted?!’ I said, ‘That’s the one,'” Geoghegan’s sister, Jane Hastings said.
Geoghegan is one of around a dozen seniors with a form of dementia in the program. Hastings said her sister suffers from Alzheimer’s.
“She has lost the ability to read. She has lost the ability to write. So she can’t really do very much,” Hastings explained.
The elders paint with professional art supplies and their paintings are then displayed in a gallery inside the Cultural Arts Center. It’s something caregiver Jane Cummings said has been a bright spot for her mom, Peggy Brewington.
“It was like the first day of school,” Cummings said.
Cummings said her mother has dementia and requires 24/7 care but said the program helps not only them but their entire family.
“I’ll never forget it. She said to everybody, ‘I love my art class. I’m just loving it!’ And that was just fantastic,” Cummings smiled.
Amy Holland with the Opening Minds Through Art Program, who has taken care of her own father with dementia, said the free program is an expensive one to run, but what the seniors get out of it is worth so much more.
“These are people who have lived a life and they have gained all of that knowledge and all of that wisdom. And it’s in there. It’s our goal to reach that,” Holland said.
To get involved with the program and participate, donate or volunteer, click here.