Sunday, October 26, 2014

Creative arts provide hope and help for people with Alzheimer's

Alzheimer’s. It’s the only disease in the top ten causes of fatalities without a prevention, treatment or cure.
In honor of November National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, we had a chat with Berna Huebner, an Alzheimer’s advocate who has an uplifting and inspiring story about her mother who had Alzheimer’s.
Berna faced her mother’s disease with courage and creativity. Over a decade after her mother’s death, Berna is still giving back to others affected by Alzheimer’s Disease.

In 1995, Hilda Gorenstein (an artist known as Hilgos) was placed in a Chicago-area nursing home because of steadily worsening dementia, entered the great isolation that is often the world of Alzheimer’s, and stopped communicating. One day, her daughter, Berna, asked her mom, if she’d like to paint. Hilgos responded in a surprising way, answering: “Yes, I remember better when I paint.” Berna told her mother’s doctor, who suggested to try to have art students work with her mom.
In the 1990s, this was a pioneering idea. Berna was amazed to see her mother’s steady improvement, both physical and verbal, through the use of the creative arts and how this reopened doors of communications, and in turn improved the quality of her mother’s life. After her mother’s death in 1998, Berna created a nonprofit organization, the Hilgos Foundation to advocate how the creative arts can help people who have Alzheimer’s to lead a better quality of life. She began to reach out to the artistic, scientific, academic and other communities to share her mother’s experience.
This led to her co-directing an international documentary film inspired by her mother’s words “I Remember Better When I Paint.
MWG: Tell us about the documentary. 

Berna Huebner: My mother’s own words as she was living with Alzheimer’s became the catalyst for the film. The documentary, co-directed by Eric Ellena and co-produced by French Connection Films, demonstrates how the creative arts can enhance the quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s.

We’re very excited to share that the film has been selected to broadcast on PBS television stations nationwide during the month of November 2014.
[Click here for broadcast listings.]

Narrated by Academy award-winning actress Olivia de Havilland, the documentary includes visits to a variety of care facilities in the US and Europe, as well as leading art museums to demonstrate how creative activities can reawaken a sense of identity, dignity and engagement among people with severe memory impairment.

 Leading doctors and neurologists explain how parts of the brain can be spared and discuss the life-enriching benefits of these creative approaches. Among these experts are Dr. Robert Butler, a founding director of the National Institutes on Aging (NIH) and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Dr. Samuel Gandy of Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, Dr. Robert Green of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School and Dr. Robert Stern, Professor of Neurology at Boston University. Inspiring personal stories highlight the transformative impact of art and other creative therapies and how they are changing the way we look at Alzheimer’s.

Among those who are featured are Yasmin Aga Khan, president of Alzheimer’s Disease International and daughter of Rita Hayworth, who had Alzheimer’s.

MWG: What are your hopes for changing how Alzheimer’s is treated? 

BH: The transformative power of art is still inadequately understood by those afflicted with Alzheimer’s and other forms of memory loss, their families, their caregivers, and the wider medical community. There is still much to be done to educate and advocate for this approach.

Raising awareness of the disease is important as it helps to reduce the stigmatization that is associated with Alzheimer’s. And as @cc4alz, an Alzheimer’s advocate on Twitter says “Awareness=Funding=Research=Cure.”

MWG: Speaking of Twitter, we understand that social media has helped raise awareness and that your efforts have been nominated for an award. Tell us a bit more. 

BH: Social media, in particular Twitter, has been instrumental in helping to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s and how the creative arts can help. There is an amazing caregiving community on Twitter who support each other. We are dedicated to helping the community connect and share. Since 2011 we co-host a weekly dementia caregiver discussion called #AlzChat. We were humbled to learn that our @irememberbetter Twitter has recently been nominated for a WEGO Health Activist Award.

MWG: Tell us more about the Hilgos Foundation.

BH :The initial mission of the Hilgos Foundation was to raise scholarships for art students from the Chicago area to work with people who have memory impairment, although it has since come to encompass an international public education role as this disease becomes ever growing worldwide. Students in the Hilgos project have to date served hundreds of people. In addition to co-producing the documentary we have also published a book I Remember Better When I Paint: Open Doors, Making Connections which describes how people affected with dementia can be reconnected and how communications channels can be reopened through the creative arts.


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 About Berna Huebner:
 Berna G. Huebner is the founder of the Hilgos Foundation in Chicago, Illinois which supports and encourages the ongoing process of artistic creation with people who have different forms of dementia including Alzheimer’s. She is the co-director of I Remember Better When I Paint, an international documentary film which examines the positive impact of art on people with Alzheimer’s and shows how the creative arts can help Alzheimer's patients re-engage in life. Huebner served on the Boston University School of Medicine Alzheimer’s Board and is Director of the Center for the Study of International Communications in Paris, France. She is the former Research Director for Nelson Rockefeller when he was Governor of New York and then Vice President.

6 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease 7 years ago, almost when all hope was lost due to several failed attempts in making her healthy. My desire to see her permanently free drives me into searching the internet for possible solutions which led me to a video about Alzheimer’s disease on YouTube, I met with a comment on how an herbal doctor cures Alzheimer patients with natural herbs. I collected the doctor's contact and reached out to him, we talked about it and he asked few questions about her physical challenges which I answered, and then he prepared the herbal medicine and sent them to me here in Tennessee with prescriptions on how to use attached, I ensured my mom took the herbal medicine accordingly and in 3 weeks of using this medication, we began to see improvement in her health and now, I am so glad to share this testimony that after 8 months, my mom is permanently healed from this horrible disease called Alzheimer, and now she is living her best life. Contact Dr. Rohan via dr.rohanronjohn@gmail.com you will come back for your testimony.  

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  3. My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease 7 years ago, almost when all hope was lost due to several failed attempts in making her healthy. My desire to see her permanently free drives me into searching the internet for possible solutions which led me to a video about Alzheimer’s disease on YouTube, I met with a comment on how an herbal doctor cures Alzheimer patients with natural herbs. I collected the doctor's contact and reached out to him, we talked about it and he asked few questions about her physical challenges which I answered, and then he prepared the herbal medicine and sent them to me here in Tennessee with prescriptions on how to use attached, I ensured my mom took the herbal medicine accordingly and in 3 weeks of using this medication, we began to see improvement in her health and now, I am so glad to share this testimony that after 8 months, my mom is permanently healed from this horrible disease called Alzheimer, and now she is living her best life. Contact Dr. Rohan via dr.rohanronjohn@gmail.com you will come back for your testimony

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have decided to make this post or testimony public. My husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s ten years ago. I loved my husband very much, and it was heartbreaking to have him develop Alzheimer's disease and to stand by and watch him decline in his ability to take care of himself, struggling with day-to-day tasks. It takes away his memory and eventually the ability to do basic tasks. Alzheimer’s doesn’t just affect the person who is diagnosed — it also turns your world as a caregiver, upside down if your loved one is grappling with the condition. To be clear, there is no pharmaceutical medicine, no magic pill that has any significant effect on the progressive downhill course of this disease. Not until we use an Herbal Medicine called BRONGEE that puts an end to it. He has been well and living his best life. While there may be other different options. Never make your own success path a secret. There should be no shame. Contact Dr. Rohan with dr.rohanronjohn@gmail.com, It may also help you too.

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  5. Having Dementia knocked my mother off her life and had her living like a mad person, I didn't know how the better part of her life eluded her, my mind was completely splitted in two, She showed a severe decline in her mental and cognitive skills in the last few years and her quality of life had deteriorated greatly in the past 2 years where she was mostly bedridden. I am very glad my partner sought help and now she is free from all signs of psychosis. She was healed through the herbal medicines from Dr. Rohan (BRONGEE). I believe there is no act of kindness that is too small that is why I am sharing this testimony here. If you have anybody who is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, I will advise you to opt out from western medication and go for BRONGEE herbal medicine. you will have every reason to be happy again just as I am. You can visit his blog to know more about this herbal medicine. https://herbalcureforalzheimeranddementia.blogspot.com/ or write to him directly on WhatsApp via +393512146722.
    He is well known for his groundbreaking treatments concerning the brain and kidney issues.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Having Dementia knocked my mother off her life and had her living like a mad person, I didn't know how the better part of her life eluded her, my mind was completely splatted in two, She showed a severe decline in her mental and cognitive skills in the last few years and her quality of life had deteriorated greatly in the past 2 years where she was mostly bedridden. I am very glad my partner sought help and now she is free from all signs of psychosis. She was healed through the herbal medicines from Dr. Rohan (BRONGEE). I believe there is no act of kindness that is too small that is why I am sharing this testimony here. If you have anybody who is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, I will advise you to opt out from western medication and go for BRONGEE herbal medicine. you will have every reason to be happy again just as I am. You can visit his blog to know more about this herbal medicine. https://herbalcureforalzheimeranddementia.blogspot.com/  or write to him directly on WhatsApp via +393512146722.
     He is well known for his groundbreaking treatments concerning the brain and kidney issues.

    ReplyDelete