Design for Creative Aging
Can collaborative art making enhance non-verbal communication between individuals living with dementia and their care partners?
As we continue to live longer, the number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is on an upward trend. Today, 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. According to the National Alzheimer’s Association, nearly 14 million individuals will be diagnosed with the disease by 2050(1). With the rising cost of both in-home and out-of-home professional care and the increasing desire to age-in-place, caregiving by family members is becoming more commonplace in North American households. At first, this thesis set out to explore if art making could cultivate forms of non-verbal communication within domestic settings between individuals living with progressive Alzheimer’s and their family caregivers (spouse, daughter etc.). However, due to the spread of COVID-19, this thesis asks a new question: Can art-making enhance non-verbal communication between individuals living with dementia and their care partners in nursing homes? How can caregivers and individuals living with dementia feel empowered to make together? Design for Creative Aging explores a series of in-person and virtual art making workshops in a Seattle-based memory unit.
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