Art in Your Hands – Marino Marini Museum, Florence
The programme dedicated to people with Alzheimer's and their carers started in 2012, as a collaboration between two museum educators, Cristina Bucci and Chiara Lachi, and two geriatric educators, Luca Carli Ballola and Michela Mei.
Goals: to foster relationships among participants, focusing on the emotional and communicative power of art; to propose to people with Alzheimer's and their cares enjoyable, stimulating and appropriate activities; to allow them to remain as long as possible integrated in the community’s cultural life.
Everyone, without distinctions, is considered a participant: carers are allowed and spurred to take part as well as cared people.
We use different methods to approach the work of art:
- to invent a story or a collective poem related to a work of art - underlining the freedom of interpretation that the artwork gives to each visitor, enhances fantasy and imagination, skills that people living with dementia preserve longer.
- to touch the sculptures, with bare hands, an experience that gives deep emotions and opens up new relations strategies: for people with Alzheimer's, in everyday life, touch is a tool that strengthens the ability to communicate when words are no longer sufficient or understandable.
- the sound stations created in collaboration with Tempo Reale allow to integrate the observation with the experience of listening to music; a sound track to the works that provides additional suggestions to the imagination.
- an activity on motion and dance, inspired by the works of Marino Marini, promotes self-awareness through your own body, arouses positive emotions, helps to express yourselves, to communicate and to relate to the others.
- creative workshops - the attention is not focused on the manual activity, but rather on the relationship between carer and elderly. The manipulation of clay gave intense emotions: the hands move the ideas, the pleasure of touch and give form to the material introduces new languages that extend the opportunity to express ourselves.
Museum programmes for people living with dementia help reduce the stigma and isolation. This is why we proposed a dissemination programme, a training course for museum and geriatric educators of Tuscany Region, which included a publication and skill courses for professionals and family carers of people with Alzheimer's, aiming to increase their communication modalities through the encounter with art.
"Communicating with people with dementia" is a series of six meetings held to professionals and family carers. We expect the participation of a group of people as constant as possible; meetings for carers (family and professionals) are alternated with activities open to the participation of the people they care of. Three pairs of meetings, each addressing a specific communication modality: verbal, tactile and gestural.
In the relationship with people living with Alzheimer's, family and professional carers are the most expert people. This programme aims to increase awareness to the way they care, so that the experience of the encounter with art has an effective impact in everyday life.