Opening Minds through Art: A preliminary study evaluating the effects of a creative-expression program on persons living with dementia and their primary care partners

February 26, 2021


  • Kate Levenberg
  • Daniel R George
  • Elizabeth "Like" Lokon

For people living with dementia and their care partners, a decline in the ability to effectively communicate can cause significant distress. However, in recent decades, the arts have emerged as an effective care modality in fostering communication and expression for those with declining verbal skills and memory loss. Opening Minds through Art (OMA) is a national initiative that empowers people living with dementia by facilitating creative expression and social engagement through art-making in partnership with trained college student volunteers. Research has demonstrated that participation in the program benefits quality of life for those living with dementia and also improves student attitudes toward dementia. To date, however, no research has involved primary care partners. This preliminary study suggests that a structured art-based activity appears to positively impact acute mood for patients and, importantly, decrease care partner burnout.

Dementia, doi: 10.1177/1471301221997290

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  • Arts and Aging
  • Dementia