MercuryNews.com recently featured an article highlighting a unique program run by the Alzheimer's Association of Northern California. The Memories in the Making art program is operated in 30 assisted living, independent living, nursing homes and adult day programs in the Bay Area, in locations such as Los Gatos and San Jose.

Art helps patients communicate

The Memories in the Making program helps patients with Alzheimer's and other types of dementia regain their ability to communicate, even if they have trouble verbalizing or are unable to speak at all. The article featured on MercuryNews.com says art provides patients a way to express themselves and can often help stimulate dormant memories. The program is open to people in all stages of dementia, and many participants have never painted before.

The program is self-sustaining, too. Each year, some of the artists' work is auctioned off as part of annual fundraising efforts. This year's event, held on March 5, 2010, earned $111,000. Some incredible works of art are produced through this program, with one piece going for $5,000 at this year's auction.

Is there a program like this in my area?

You can find out if there's a similar program in your area by visiting the Alzheimer's Association website and searching for your local chapter.