Jim Taylor never took an “art-expression” class before but says it helped him deal with some of the stress and frustration associated with his Alzheimer’s disease.
The free class is the first of its kind to be offered by Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and the University of Illinois Springfield in cooperation with the Prairie Art Alliance.
Organizers said the class has resulted in measurable gains by improving mood and promoting relaxation — among people with dementia and other memory disorders, and among their caregivers.
“The point is not about making beautiful art,” said class instructor Karen Lee, a member of UIS’s faculty. “It’s about expression. It’s just nice to be able to do a creative activity where you can just be a regular person.”
Graduate students from UIS’s human development counseling program have received college credit to assist people with memory loss while their caregivers join in the class.
The story was featured by The State Journal-Register on April 18, 2013.
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