Nashville museum provides special tour for people living with dementia

Frist and Alzheimer's.jpg
Posted at 6:10 PM, Dec 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-09 19:37:36-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Data shows about 6.5 million Americans, ages 65 and older, are living with Alzheimer's.

It’s a disease that touches all walks of life and can be very isolating.

The Frist Art Museum and the Alzheimer’s Association of Tennessee have partnered for the last 14 years to offer socially engaging programs for those living with some form of dementia.

On Friday, they hosted their last tour of the year for a group of about 20 people. The group included people living with dementia and their care partners.

Doctors say it's great for dementia patients to keep their minds stimulated.

Stacy Miller and James Talley have been coming to the special tours for so long, they’ve become friends with staff.

Stacy and James are like any other father-daughter duo, except for the fact she helps take care of her father. He suffers from dementia.

"Everything he sees, he thinks it’s awesome and like big. Everything he tastes, it’s the best meal he’s ever had. We always say at least he’s positive about everything," Stacy Miller said.

The museum’s director of Education and Engagement Anne Henderson conducts the tour differently for this group.

"You don’t want anyone to feel intimidated or uncomfortable because they don’t have the right answer. It’s really what are they associating with — the images that were looking at," Henderson said.

Henderson can’t help but smile whenever James comes to visit, because after five years into his battle with the disease, he still remembers a lot.

"They're really like friends coming back, so it’s like taking to a good friend through the gallery and having a conversation and sharing things about our lives and their lives together," Henderson said.

Stacy said growing up her father played a major role in her life.

“I used to remember a lot of stuff but because of my age I’m getting a little lost," James Talley said.

Stacy is now taking on the role to make sure her dad is happy.

This is just one of many activities the Alzheimer’s Association of Tenness conducts to help keep the mind of dementia patients stimulated.

Learn more about other engagement programs here.

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