Dementia-Friendly Day experience at the Art Gallery of Hamilton January 23

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Published January 18, 2024 at 8:58 pm

The Art Gallery of Hamilton has been championing the cause of people living with dementia and their families for many years and with January being Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in Canada there’s no better time for programs like Dementia-Friendly Day, happening this Tuesday at the gallery.

On the third Tuesday of every month (or fourth, in the case of January 23), the gallery reduces sound levels and sensory stimulation from exhibition media and group tours to provide a more relaxed visit.

“Everyone is welcome during public hours, but we know that the noise and bustle of public hours can be over stimulating for some visitors,” the AGH said on their website.

Dementia-Friendly Days is a drop-in, self-directed experience for people living with dementia and their friends and families and others who would benefit from a more relaxed, supported visit.

Program staff will be on hand to help with navigation and accessibility as requested, along with opportunities to engage with the art on display through conversation and hands-on resources.

People living with dementia can visit on their own or with a guest and all levels of ability are welcomed.

Other 2024 dates for the program this winter and spring are February 20, March 19, April 16, May 21 and June 18.

“We know that awareness, inclusion and empowerment are essential to the wellbeing of people with dementia and their loved ones, and we have been privileged to participate in making this a pillar of our programming,” said Laurie Kilgour-Walsh, the Wellness Lead at the AGH.

The gallery aims to raise awareness and challenge the stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s and dementia, especially during January.

 

“As our communities age, we see the impact of dementia and the stigma that surrounds it becoming ever more widespread in Canada,” she added. “We know that awareness, inclusion and empowerment are essential to the wellbeing of people with dementia and their loved ones, and we have been privileged to participate in making this a pillar of our programming.”

Studies have shown that experiences with art and culture facilitate experiences for participants no matter their level of subject knowledge, abilities, or circumstances. As an art gallery, the AGH uses experiences with works of art, but gallery staff also know that all kinds of experiences can be facilitated through many different cultural and social experiences.

“Art and culture can help you to see things in a new way. They can open you to new experiences, emotions, interpretations, and even recollections of past experiences,” Kilgour-Walsh said. “They can take you out of the everyday. When these experiences are shared, they become even more enjoyable.”

Essential to social experiences is communication, though this can happen in many different ways, regardless of ability – with words, gestures, body language, art-making, and writing. Art can remove barriers that are caused by changes in language or speaking abilities.

To learn more about programs at the AGH for those living with dementia, visit www.artgalleryofhamilton.com for more information, or email [email protected].

To register a loved one living with early stage dementia for the Artful Moments winter sessions visit https://www.artgalleryofhamilton.com/program/am-memory-care-wintersessions/.

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