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DIA launches program for Alzheimer's patients

The Detroit Institute of Arts
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The Detroit Institute of Arts

The Detroit Institute of Arts is taking the first step toward building a program for Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers.

The DIA and the Michigan Alzheimer’s Association have been trying to launch the “Minds on Art” program for more than a year. But it’s stalled from lack of funding.

But the groups decided to hold an initial session anyway, and hope to expand the program.

The program offers gallery tours for patients and caregivers. Renee Grant is a DIA docent who trained to work with Alzheimer’s patients.

“These would not be information-based tours, but instead an experience that would evoke memories, feelings, and emotions from the artwork.”

DIA Program Manager Sue Troia says the project’s main aim is to combat the isolation many Alzhaimer’s patients and caregivers feel.

“And we want to give them a place, a comfortable place, to come together-- for caregivers to come together with other caregivers, for people living with the disease to come together with other people living with the disease. And to have the same type of experience of looking at art, talking about art, having an art-making experience.”

The program also provides a studio experience where patients can create their own art.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.