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Alzheimer's Association revives art program in Altamonte Springs

Art Connects ALZ is a free seven-week course for people living with Alzheimer's.
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Alzheimer's Association
Art Connects ALZ is a free seven-week course for people living with Alzheimer's.

A program bringing the experience of making art to Alzheimer's disease patients and their caregivers resumes this week in Altamonte Springs three years after shutting down due to the pandemic.

Facilitator Pamela Levin of the Alzheimer's Association said Art Connects ALZ is a relaxing program using watercolors -- it's therapeutic but not art therapy or art instruction. Caregivers join in and often form new friendships during the seven-week course.

"It is a way to be creative, express yourself and have a chance to socialize in a comfortable, safe atmosphere," she said.

Levin says she is amazed every time with how beautiful the art is.

"They know they're forgetting," she said. "They know that there are parts of themselves that they feel like they're losing. Then they come to this class. And ... most of them have never picked up a paint brush in their entire lives. And all of the sudden they're learning a new skill."

Art can help people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias express themselves, process emotions and revive memories, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

The art program runs from 1 to 2 p.m.on Mondays at One Senior Place, 715 Douglas Ave. It's free but a reservation is required. You can register by calling (800) 272-3900.

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.
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