Quality of Life (documentation)

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Portland Metro Creative Aging and Cognitive Arts Center 12-Step Program to Enhance Stability and Neuroplasticity in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and early-to-mid-stage Alzheimer's Disease (AD) clients

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(Note: This presentation describing is largely based a presentation on Therapeutic Thematic Arts Programming the TTAP Method, included here.)

Therapeutic thematic arts programming enhances a senior's cognitive abilities to recall ...when accompanied by a positive emotional event. [1]

 Research demonstrates life experiences and activities that challenge the mind in a safe and socially validating person-centered way result in positive and continuous changes in the human brain, even in the individual with Mild AD, Moderate AD or advanced stages.

Therapeutically stimulating activities directly enhance neuroplasticity of the brain, specifically in the hippocampus region. Our programs engage participants in a group or individual art/recreation therapy format ...ensuring a higher likelihood of full participation from each participant by providing steps that accommodate all known information processing styles.

Most significant to the therapist/caregiver serving this ever-growing special population is that a wide variety of data sources demonstrate that recreation/arts together have a positive impact on quality of life. Factors associated with increased quality of life include: self-expression, self-worth, increased socialization, feelings of belonging to something greater, ability to self-challenge oneself, and meaningful quality time. [2-3]

The Aging Thru Art program improves your mother's and/or father's quality of life with increased: self-expression, self-worth, socialization, feelings of belonging to something greater, ability to challenge oneself, and meaningful, quality time. [4-5]

Could mom or dad benefit from strength-based recreation-and-art therapeutic approaches promoting retention of cognitive skills and abilities of those diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease?

Two pilot studies, conducted in 2008 (and several more recent), utilized similar emerging multi-modal intervention as our programs do: an approach which provides stimulation to three distinct brain systems, naturally stimulating person-centered programming, encouraging brain wellness and neural regeneration, thereby providing a viable means for enhancing cognitive functioning in those diagnosed mild, moderate, and/or advanced stages of Alzheimer's Disease.

Using Cognitive Arts Therapy to Slow Down the Progression from MCI to Alzheimer's Disease

Research on a method efficacy similar to ours, with individuals with mild AD at Cornell University indicated practices like ours may be an effective intervention for slowing the progression of MCI to Alzheimer's Disease. 

Therapeutic thematic arts programming enhances a senior's cognitive abilities to recall ...when accompanied by a positive emotional event. [1]

 Research demonstrates life experiences and activities that challenge the mind in a safe and socially validating person-centered way result in positive and continuous changes in the human brain, even in the individual with Mild AD, Moderate AD or advanced stages.

Therapeutically stimulating activities directly enhance neuroplasticity of the brain, specifically in the hippocampus region. Our programs engage participants in a group or individual art/recreation therapy format ...ensuring a higher likelihood of full participation from each participant by providing steps that accommodate all known information processing styles.

Most significant to the therapist/caregiver serving this ever-growing special population is that a wide variety of data sources demonstrate that recreation/arts together have a positive impact on quality of life. Factors associated with increased quality of life include: self-expression, self-worth, increased socialization, feelings of belonging to something greater, ability to self-challenge oneself, and meaningful quality time. [2-3].

Our program improves your mother's and/or father's quality of life with increased: self-expression, self-worth, socialization, feelings of belonging to something greater, ability to challenge oneself, and meaningful, quality time. [4-5]  

Could mom or dad benefit from strength-based recreation-and-art therapeutic approaches promoting retention of cognitive skills and abilities of those diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease?

Two pilot studies, conducted in 2008 (and several more recent), utilized similar emerging multi-modal intervention as our programs do: an approach which provides stimulation to three distinct brain systems, naturally stimulating person-centered programming, encouraging brain wellness and neural regeneration, thereby providing a viable means for enhancing cognitive functioning in those diagnosed mild, moderate, and/or advanced stages of Alzheimer's Disease.

Using Cognitive Arts Therapy to Slow Down the Progression from MCI to Alzheimer's Disease

Research on a method efficacy similar to ours, with individuals with mild AD at Cornell University indicated practices like ours may be an effective intervention for slowing the progression of MCI to Alzheimer's Disease. 

Similarly, our method is person-centered, culturally competent, and employs a variety of interwoven recreation-and-art activities.

Prevalence of MCI in the general population is reported as high as 25% for adults 65 years and older; [6-10] the progression from MCI to AD per year is reported to be 12% to 14%. [11-12] Multimodal interventions (a variety of mixed interventions, stimulating all regions of the brain) have proven to be extremely successful in early stages of mild cognitive impairment (MCI)/Alzheimer's Disease (AD) for decreasing symptoms. [13] Such interventions are designed to provide a wide variety of stimuli, positively affecting and increasing neuronal activity, responses, and plasticity. [14-15]

Our method is a comprehensive art-and-recreation therapeutic intervention process in a staircase process to inhibit the progression of MCI to AD. [16] Our process stimulates all aspects of brain functioning, is proactive and reactive to cognitive, social and emotional needs of our clients, and maximizes interaction in individual and group client settings, and thematically addresses personally meaningful experiences in a variety of activities designed to cognitively exercise distinct parts of the brain responsible for client thoughts, feelings, memories, the five senses, and more. [17] Our method provides the early intervention needed in order to assist older adults in retaining cognitive and psychosocial abilities. [18-21]


[1] Lyons, W. (1999) ‘The philosophy of cognition and emotion', in T. Daleish and M.J. Power (eds), Handbook of Cognition and Emotion.  Chichester: Wiley

[2] Clare,L. (2002) We'll fight as long as we can: coping with AD: Aging & Mental Health, 6, 139-148.

[3] Lawton M.P. (1994). Quality of life in Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's Disease and Associated disorders, 8 (suppl.3) 138-150.

[4] Clare,L. (2002) We'll fight as long as we can: coping with AD: Aging & Mental Health, 6, 139-148.

[5] Lawton M.P. (1994). Quality of life in Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's Disease and Associated disorders, 8 (suppl.3) 138-150.

[6] Gurland, B., Wilder, D., Lantigua, R., Stern, Y. & Chen, J. (1999). Rates of dementia in three ethno-racial groups. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 14(6), 481- 493.

[7] National Institute on Aging, Progress Report on Alzheimer's disease. (2005). NIH Publication No. 05-5724. Bethesda, MD: Author. Retrieved from http://www.alzheimers.org/pr04-05/index.asp

[8] Kumara, R., Dearb, K., Christensenb, H., Ilschnerb, S., Meslinb, S. & Sachdevc, P. (2005). Prevalence of Mild Cognitive Impairment in 60- to 64-Year-Old Community-Dwelling Individuals: The Personality and Total Health through Life 60+ Study. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, 19, 67-74.

[9] Manly, J., Tang, M., Schupf, N. & Stern., Y. (2005). Implementing diagnostic criteria and estimating frequency of mild cognitive impairment in an urban community. Archives of Neurology, 62, 1739-1746.

[10] Pressley, J., Trott, C. & Tang, M. (2003). Dementia in community-dwelling elderly patients: a comparison of survey data, Medicare claims, cognitive screening, reported symptoms, and activity limitations. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 56, 896-905.

[11] Davie, J., Azuma, T., Goldinger, S., Connor, D., Sabbagh, M. and Silverberg, N. (2004). Sensitivity to expectancy violations in health aging and mild cognitive impairment. Neuropsychology, 18(2), 269-275.

[12] Fernandez-Ballesteros, R., Zamarron, M.D., Tarraga, L., Moya, R. & Iniguez, J. (2003). Cognitive plasticity in healthy, mild cognitive impairment (MCI) subjects and Alzheimer's disease patients: A research project in Spain. European Psychologist, 8(3), 148-159

[13] Rentz, C. (2002). Memories in the Making©: Outcome-based evaluation of an art-based program for individuals with dementing illnesses. American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and other Dementias, 17(3), 175-181.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Burgener, S., Gilbert, R. & Mathy, R. (2007). Effects of a multi-modal intervention on cognitive, physical, and affective outcomes of persons with early stage dementia. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders, 12, 143-156. 

[16] Madori, L. (2007). Therapeutic Thematic Arts Programming for Older Adults. Baltimore, MD:  Health Professions Press. 

[17] Ibid.

[18] Rentz, C. (2002). Memories in the Making: Outcome-based evaluation of an art-based program for individuals with dementing illnesses. American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and other Dementias, 17(3), 175-181.

[19] Hass-Cohen, N. & Carr, R. (Eds.). (2008). Art therapy and clinical neuroscience. London: Jessica Kingsley.

[20] Moniz-Cook, E., Agar, S., Gibson,G., Win, T. & Wing, M. (1998). Preliminary study of the effects of early intervention with people with dementia and their families in a memory clinic. Aging & Mental Health, 2(3), 199-211.

[21] Kluger, A., Ferris, S., Golomb, J., Mittelman, M. & Reisberg, B. (1999). Neuropsychological prediction of decline to dementia in non-demented elderly. Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology, 12, 168-179.