Art making practices for groups of individuals with Alzheimer's disease




Coonrod, Ellen Claire-Murray

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Through the method of action research, this study reflects upon the individual practice of an art educator in facilitating visual art making experiences for a group of adults with dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease. The study’s qualitative data consists of interviews with class facilitators, photos of the class environment and resulting artwork, and written observations, which were analyzed for emergent themes supporting the participants’ cognitive and social engagement. In adopting Kitwood and Bredin’s (1992) approach of person-centered care, the study connected their twelve indicators of relative well-being to observations of engagement in the class. The discovered themes include personal objects and stories, collaboration, mood, repetition, stimulating materials, multiple steps, individualized assistance, minimized distractions, and limited options. These described attributes could provide a resource for those designing and facilitating similar experiences for adults with Alzheimer’s disease.



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