Art and Aging: Digital Projects for Individuals With Dementia

Elyssa Twedt, Dennis R. Proffitt, Donna L. Hearn

Abstract


In action teaching, assignments are created that simultaneously benefit students and society by directly connecting classroom material to a community intervention. We designed an entire course rooted in the principles of action teaching in which students facilitated the positive effects of art, nature, and music on the well-being of individuals diagnosed with dementia. Groups of three students worked with a local elderly couple, one member of whom had dementia, to create multimedia digital projects (e.g., online scrapbooks, interactive DVDs) involving experiences with art or nature tailored to the needs of their specific community partners. Students met weekly with their assigned couple to discuss their families’ interests, goals for the project, and to obtain feedback on the impact of their project on their families’ well-being. Through these weekly meetings, students took an iterative approach to designing and improving their final projects, applying material learned through classroom lectures to their projects. In this field experience, students went beyond traditional lecture learning by developing a customized project that promoted the well-being of someone experiencing dementia. This course fostered values of citizenship, developed students’ research skills, and highlighted the reciprocal nature between knowledge learned in the classroom and knowledge acquired through real-world experiences.


Keywords


action teaching; service-learning; dementia; Alzheimer’s disease; restorative environments

Full Text: PDF HTML

http://dx.doi.org/10.5964/jspp.v2i1.265




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ISSN: 2195-3325
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