Treating Alzheimers Through The Creative Arts Brings Results

Treating Alzheimers through the creative arts brings results

© GLOW IMAGES Model used for illustrative purposes

The arts play an important role here in Southern California and I for one enjoy the creative expression of beauty artists exhibit. My colleague Anna Bowness-Park of Canada writes how the arts can transform lives of those with dementia. Her article was first published in the Vancouver Sun.

Watching her mother Hilda Gorenstein slowly disappear into the labyrinth of Alzheimers diseaseBerna Huebner asked her: “Would you like to paint again?” Her mother, a celebrated and acclaimed painter known as Hilgos, responded: “Yes, I remember better when I paint.”

This small comment inspired her daughter to seek ways to help her mother reconnect with her artistic life, and with those around her. The doctor suggested to Huebner that she could link her mother with some students from the Art Institute of Chicago, and following this advice, several became involved with Hilgos. Slowly and patiently, Hilgos rediscovered what she loved to do best – paint. It was through her painting that Huebner was better able to communicate with her mother – not in the same way, but differently, and with a new language.

Following this experience, Huebner was inspired to make a documentary that explores how the arts can transform the lives of those living with different forms of dementia. Produced in collaboration with film director Eric Ellena, the movie, “I Remember Better When I Paint,” celebrates the courage of her mother who rediscovered her painting gift, and explores the experiences of others who are discovering the influence of art on cognitive ability.

Read the complete article here.


About the author

Guest We are pleased to present Notes from the Field authors, who are assistant committees and church members in the Southern California region; and Notes from The Mother Church authors, who are Committees from the United States and around the world, as well as the Federal Committee on Publication office.


  1. Evelyn, Laguna Hills says

    Truly food for thought. Is engaging and connecting the road to lifting thought above the everyday beliefs about existence to finding creative activities that hold one’s attention to the beauty of life itself?

  2. says

    Thank you, I taught my dad the blind contour method of drawing when he was in his 90s and he did very well. I should have kept it up, having him practice, as he stayed with me for a while. I also taught it to my students first-third grades and it totally changed them in the areas of confidence, behavior, and motivation. They got a chance to draw everyday and I showed them how to use watercolors and added that to it. They scored twice as high, on the state test, as any students around our area. To see their art work, and read about what the arts do for children, and I guess anyone, go to Click on Student Art Work, and on How the Arts Help.

  3. Adrienne says

    What a beautiful way to help guide our brother man and contribute to the Arts! Thank you for sharing!

  4. says

    This is exactly what I’ve been reflecting on lately,”I remember better when I paint”. Its the cognitive ability, I have a lot of trouble remembering peoples names, which is something I need to work on as a teacher. I’m hoping that somehow engaging in the art process will help me link the persons face with their name. From a personal point of view , arts are often diminished in importance, but I’ve seen for myself how my cognitive abilities, apart from the one issue I have mentioned, have improved dramatically through engagement with the arts and art making. I can see how art could help people with dementia and Alzheimers symptoms .Great work.