Funds to be used for Intergenerational Art Program for Underserved Older Adults Living with Dementia in Greater Boston 

NEW YORK —The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) has awarded grant funding to Goddard House, in Brookline, MA to bring Opening Minds Through Art (OMA), an award-winning, evidence-based, intergenerational art making-program for older adults living with dementia, to underserved communities in the Boston-area.

Building on success introducing and piloting OMA at the Goddard House assisted living memory support neighborhood in 2016, Goddard House Community Initiatives will use the $6,000 AFA grant to help launch its OMA in the Community program to help increase arts equity and access to undeserved Boston-area older adults living with dementia. A priority is to provide OMA programs, preferably in English and Spanish, to nursing homes, adult daycare providers and other elder care organizations.

Developed at Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University in 2007, OMA is designed to pair older adult artists with volunteers/student interns/caregivers who are trained to rely on imagination instead of memory and focus on remaining strengths instead of lost skills. OMA enables people living with dementia to assume new roles as artists and teachers and leave a legacy of beautiful artwork. The purpose of OMA is to provide an atmosphere for building respect and genuine connections between people living with dementia and volunteers/student interns/caregivers as they engage in artmaking. 

“Art is a therapeutic tool for individuals living with dementia-related illnesses—it can stimulate the mind, uplift mood and self-esteem, and provide opportunities for self-expression,” said AFA President & CEO Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. “AFA is pleased to help Goddard House bring this program to underserved communities and help more individuals living with dementia experience the therapeutic benefits of art making.”   

Candace Cramer, President & CEO of Goddard House, said, “We are grateful for the generous support of the Alzheimer’s Foundation to launch our OMA in the Community initiative.  Our goal, through providing access to the OMA program, is to help build bridges across age and cognitive barriers through the creation of artwork and new relationships.” 

AFA is able to provide vital services, like this grant, as a result of the generosity of individual contributions, sponsorships and fundraising activities. To help support these initiatives or learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and resources available to help families affected by it, visit www.alzfdn.org

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About Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA):

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide support, services and education to individuals, families and caregivers affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias nationwide, and fund research for better treatment and a cure. Its services include a National Toll-Free Helpline (866-232-8484) staffed by licensed social workers, the National Memory Screening Program, educational conferences and materials, and “AFA Partners in Care” dementia care training for healthcare professionals. For more information about AFA, call 866-232-8484, visit www.alzfdn.org, follow us on Twitter, or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.  AFA has earned Charity Navigator’s top 4-star rating for six consecutive years.

About Goddard House:

Founded in 1849, Goddard House is a nonprofit operating a high-quality assisted living community and creating innovative programs that empower older adults to thrive. Goddard House Community Initiatives embraces the aging experience for seniors living in the Greater Boston area by developing and sponsoring programs which support their need for purpose, engagement, autonomy, and choice as they age. For more information, visit www.goddardhouse.org.

Read this story in the Brookline Patch.