Docent discussing art with participants in Art Can

Every November, the Alzheimer’s Association recognizes National Alzheimer’s Disease and Family Caregivers Month. This month-long observance serves as an opportunity to shed light on the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s and recognize the invaluable role played by family members and friends in providing care and support to those affected. The American Alzheimer’s Association uses purple as its signature color, describing the combination as blending “the calm stability of blue and the passionate energy of red.” As an organization that values the relationship with the community, the Museum created Art Can. Art Can is a free program that offers accessible art experiences to adults living with memory loss and their caregivers. After a group conversation, participants are invited to explore the galleries individually and continue to connect with others through art making.

“Since the program launched, I’ve learned that individuals living with dementia and their loved ones truly want to feel seen/heard as themselves and connect with loved ones or community members,” says Margie Makowski, manager of Museum accessibility.

Along with Art Can, the Museum works with docents who trained to be recognized as “Dementia Friends” through the organization Dementia Friendly Lehigh Valley. This is a local community chapter of Dementia Friendly America (DFA). DFA is a national network of communities, organizations, and individuals seeking to ensure that communities across the United States are equipped to support people living with dementia and their caregivers. Dementia friendly communities foster the ability of people living with dementia to remain in their community and engage and thrive in day-to-day living.

Those who are certified as “Dementia Friends” have completed a training that outlines the causes and symptoms of dementia as well as best practices for communicating and creating a welcoming environment for this special group in our community.