Paint­ing soothes de­men­tia woes away

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Your Favourite Things -

WHEN Hugo Burke picks up a brush to paint, his wife of 53 years says it has the power to take away the near-con­stant re­minder of his de­men­tia.

Pat Burke said the fort­nightly Artis­tic Ad­ven­tures work­shops run by Alzheimer’s WA in Shen­ton Park were the only group that her hus­band was happy to at­tend.

“There is a mix of peo­ple who are af­flicted and those who are not, so it takes away the fact that he has de­men­tia,” Mrs Burke said.

“Ev­ery­one else here has also been af­fected by de­men­tia, so I feel very close to them, like I could say any­thing and be com­pletely un­der­stood.”

En­abling en­vi­ron­ment con­sul­tant Sheila Lap­ping said she had been work­ing on the work­shops at the Art Gallery of WA with art ther­a­pist Jackie Lewis for about six years.

“I like to sit back, watch out for some­thing spe­cial hap­pen­ing and then qui­etly zoom in and cap­ture it on my cam­era,” she said.

“There have been so many won­der­fully spe­cial mo­ments shared here be­tween peo­ple with de­men­tia, their car­ers and loved ones.

“You look around this room and you could not pos­si­bly know who has de­men­tia, and that’s the way it should be.”

Ms Lap­ping said she was work­ing on the fi­nal touches to an Artis­tic Ad­ven­tures photo book that ex­plained the re­search be­hind the pro­gram.

The book and a DVD will be launched along­side an art ex­hi­bi­tion at the Alzheimer’s Dis­ease In­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence to be held at the Perth Con­ven­tion Cen­tre from April 15 to 18.

“We have more than five years of pho­tos and sto­ries to share,” Ms Lap­ping said.

“There is one lady whose hus­band has passed away but she be­came friends with ev­ery­one and still pops in ev­ery now and then.”

For more in­for­ma­tion, jackie.lewis@alzheimers.org.au.

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Hugo and Pat Burke with art ther­a­pist Jackie Lewis at an Artis­tic Ad­ven­tures work­shop.

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