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Scripps' Lokon receives environmental arts research grant

11/17/2009

Elizabeth Lokon, a research associate at the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University, is the first recipient of the Environmental Arts Research Grant from The Society for Arts in Healthcare (SAH) and American Art Resources (AAR).

Lokon is recognized for her work with “Opening Minds through Art (OMA): An Evaluation of an Art Program for People with Dementia.” Participants are assisted in the creative process by working one-on-one with trained volunteers, most of them Miami undergraduate students with a wide variety of majors. The work of OMA participants has been shown and auctioned at the Oxford Community Arts Center and other local venues.

Lokon will use the grant to attend the advanced training course in Dementia Care Mapping (DCM), a long-established instrument for observing and coding behaviors of people with dementia. Currently in its eighth edition, DCM has been used in numerous studies in 18 countries. The DCM data will be used to support one of OMA’s goals, which is to promote the social engagement, autonomy and dignity of people with dementia by providing them with opportunities for creative self-expression.

Initial findings of OMA evaluations show that as a result of participating in the OMA program, volunteers have learned to communicate better with people who have dementia. This led to improved relationships, stronger connections, and increased appreciation of the human potential and creative capacities of people with dementia. These then contributed to the sustained engagement and enjoyment of the participants in the OMA program.

SAH is a non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. dedicated to advancing the arts as integral to optimal healthcare. AAR, a national consulting enterprise in Houston, Texas, is known for leadership in the field of therapeutic environments and its devotion to “bettering the experience of being a patient.”

For more information, contact Elizabeth Lokon at 529-2648 or lokonej@muohio.edu.

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