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Oklahoma City Museum of Art reaches out to dementia patients and caregivers

On a day the Oklahoma City Museum of Art is usually closed, dementia patients and caregivers toured the gallery and worked on art projects.
BY SARAH HUSSAIN shussain@opubco.com Modified: June 14, 2013 at 10:49 pm •  Published: June 15, 2013
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/articleid/3851724/1/pictures/2132310">Photo - Dementia patient Emily Gardner works on an art project at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Photo by David McDaniel, The Oklahoman <strong>David McDaniel - The Oklahoman</strong>
Dementia patient Emily Gardner works on an art project at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Photo by David McDaniel, The Oklahoman David McDaniel - The Oklahoman

Amanda Harmer, the museum's education and community outreach coordinator, said the next event for dementia patients is set for Oct. 14.

Wackerly said he would bring his wife again.

“As long as she's able, I'd love to bring her,” Wackerly said. “It's a needed respite.”

Engaging the brain

Harmer said people with dementia often feel isolated, as do their caregivers.

“Talking about art can help with communication and engage the brain,” Harmer said.

“Studies show it can help improve mood, and it is a great opportunity to socialize with people going through similar experiences.”

Carla Scull, Touchmark life enrichment director, brought three residents from the memory care center.

“They do such a good job here, taking such good care of them,” Scull said.

Scull said it makes their day special and it gives them something to do.

The art project Harmer chose for participants involved recreating some of Ritts' photographs.

Emily Gardner, who has an art background, enjoyed sipping lemonade while working on her project.

Peggy Morrison fancied Ritts' photo of Matthew McConaughey and gladly chose to work on a project featuring the actor's image.

After a couple of accidents involving spilled ink, she enthusiastically held up her piece of finished art, grinning and blushing.


To learn more

For more information about upcoming events at the museum, go to www.okcmoa.com.

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