by Rita Frank
Art of the Heart: How to Understand and Help People with Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders, Book I seeks to educate the reader about the author’s various experiences in using artistic techniques to reach people with Alzheimer’s disease. Ms. Frank explains her successes as well as failures in using techniques such as dance, visual art, and word games to bring out her patients’ independence, confidence, and eloquence.
Ms. Frank begins by explaining the basics of diseases like Alzheimer’s, explaining how the lack of independence creates feelings of incompetence in patients. They may be at varying stages of responsiveness or agreeableness, but she encourages the reader to try exercises to discover which will bring out the old self in a patient. She stresses that caretakers must work to help patients feel loved, connected, and as competent as possible — and that sometimes, this may simply mean sitting down and listening to what they have to say on a regular basis.
Art of the Heart: How to Understand and Help People with Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders, Book I may be a valuable tool for a caretaker who is looking to work closely with people who are afflicted with these disorders. They may appreciate the author’s firsthand experience with the subjects and the wisdom that can be gleaned from it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rita Frank has been in the teaching field for more than three decades, specializing in therapeutic education with degrees in traditional pedagogy, holistic medicine, health and rehabilitation, and music and dance. Her work is based on classical teaching with a holistic and artistic approach resulting in revitalizing sessions she calls “Performance Education.”
She is founder and director of the Art of the Heart, Inc., Center for Health through Art and Science. The center is dedicated to the dissemination of materials pertaining to natural healing therapies, which include touch for health therapies, expressive movement, herbs, vitamins, and special nutrition, as well as presentations that showcase her innovative style and teaching methods as “Master Classes.”
She has worked with the emotionally handicapped, adult retardation, and Parkinson’s disease and now brings the same skills, perspicacity, and compassion to the illness of Alzheimer’s.
Above all she seeks to elicit, through skill and compassion, the invincibility of the human spirit “against all odds.” She is currently a Special Education Teacher at Fischer Adult Day Care at Douglas Gardens Home and Hospital and other centers in Miami, Florida.
(2008, paperback, 74 pages)
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