By WVUA 23 Student Reporter Tianna Jenkins

The University of Alabama is collaborating with the Cognitive Dynamics Foundation to create an art therapy experience for patients with Alzheimer’s.

The program paired UA students with participants with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Students were able to document life stories and build a relationship through art. Tuesday, those students shared their experiences with the program at the annual Art to Life gala.

Executive Arts Director for the Cognitive Dynamics Foundation Angel Duncan said she was elated to have a role in this major project.

“Its important that we have art therapy,” Duncan said. “This isn’t arts and crafts. We have a solid education in psychology and neurological disorders. So we know how to pull out that person from inside.”

The goal? Help those with dementia build and develop who they are as a person.

Course Director Daniel Potts said he believes this course will help validate those who feel lost with dementia.

“They are valuable members of society,” he said. “That despite the fact that they have an illness, this doesn’t lessen their personhood, they are just as important.”

Students spent their time at Caring Days, a adult day care center, learning all about dementia and how to properly take care of someone with the condition.

Student Facilitator Jacquelynn Myrick said she feels this is the biggest thing she has done since she’s been a student.

“This is by far the most impactful thing I’ve done,” she said. “I’ve seen it change students’ lives, I’ve seen it change our people’s perspective on relationships and I’ve seen it change our participants’ lives.”

Although some memories have been lost, organizers said they will live on through art. The Gallery remains open through Friday during normal hours at the Ferguson Center on the University of Alabama campus.

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