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Thursday, September 12, 2024

Bringing Art to Life – Art-Based Memory Program

Since 2016, CMSS has partnered with Bringing Art to Life, a program founded by Dr. Daniel C Potts in Alabama where it found success before beginning its first and only out-of-state location, here in Chicago with us.

BATL is an intergenerational art therapy and life story preservation program for persons with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The 8-12 week program pairs local high school and college students with a resident for weekly art therapy sessions. Throughout the program, students receive weekly instruction on Alzheimer’s and other dementias, person-centered care techniques, art and other expressive art therapies, caregiving, and mindfulness from experts in the field and Dr. Neelum Aggarwal—our 2022 Spirit Award recipient.

For Dr. Aggarwal, one of the important outcomes of BATL-C (the designation for the Chicago location) is to educate, support and encourage young adults to enter STEM fields. Her easily approachable & relatable style is not intimidating, and the students feel comfortable sharing their personal experiences, fears, dreams and goals. Dr. Aggarwal has nurtured and is personally responsible for countless young adults-not only entering the field of medicine-but becoming individuals who truly see and understand older adults in our society.

This past August, we held Final Celebration for participants in the program where residents got to display their work and the students shared about their experiences with staff and residents’ family members.

“The celebration ceremony was amazing. I was in awe how young people like the volunteers were able to connect with the residents. This program gave a voice to the residents! At the ceremony, I forgot my mom  has Alzheimer’s and I think she in turn behaved like her old self!”
— Alma, Daughter of a Resident


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