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Individuals with dementia prepare for art show

October 8, 2018

Edgewood residents work on a variety of daily art projects and are preparing to showcase their creations to the public for the first time during the Traveling Dementia Therapy Art Show.

Attendees can expect to see art pieces, which includes canvas paintings, ceramic pumpkins, clay potteries and finger painting, from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday at Edgewood, a memory care assisted living facility at 3386 53rd Ave. catered to individuals diagnosed with varying degrees of dementia. Admission is free and includes servings of wine and cheese.

“We wanted it open to the public to get everybody more familiar with dementia and to know that there’s help out there and places for their loved ones if needed,” said Dawn Pavel, executive director of Edgewood in Columbus. “They still have a purpose.”

Although limited, Pavel said individuals with dementia are still capable of many things and are aiming to use the show as an outlet to educate community members in regard to their different abilities. Pavel said there are families with loved ones suffering from dementia and they oftentimes don’t know where to turn to for help or how to properly care for them.

During the show, Pavel hopes to help alleviate some of that burden by highlighting the different available resources which include dementia associations and support groups.

“There is help out there and it gives the residents who have this illness and their families peace … and quality of life,” Pavel said. “We like to help them function to their highest potential so that they can succeed in what they do.”

Kristen Palmer, assistant executive director at Edgewood in Columbus, said each resident was given several projects to work on for the show depending on their individual abilities and level of cognition. Palmer said each resident completed roughly three to four projects, though some required additional help and supervision.

Although the majority of the hall will be filled with art pieces created by local residents, there will also be a number of finished projects coming in from other Edgewood locations within the state.

Pavel said the show is a statewide initiative among all Edgewood Nebraska locations, noting each show will display three pieces of artwork from sister organizations.

“So (the art) travels through Nebraska and each site will have the event on different nights, open to the public to view the art,” Pavel said. “It’s fun to have the community see the projects.”

After seeing all the completed projects come together, Pavel said she was impressed, and perhaps most importantly, residents had a great time in the process.

“It’s creative and they’re very proud when they see their projects completed,” she said. “It gives them a sense of pride.”

Pavel said she foresees the show becoming a yearly tradition at Edgewood with hopes of seeing it branch out to include individuals diagnosed with dementia from other assisted living and memory care facilities, as well as those living within the community.

“To kind of bring the community together,” she said. “It’s to let them shine and it’s fun.”

Natasya Ong is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach her via email at natasya.ong@lee.net.

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