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Virginia art grant designed to help seniors with cognitive disorders

Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 4:18 PM EDT
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GLEN ALLEN, Va. (WDBJ) - LeadingAge Virginia, an association of not-for-profit aging services organizations, has announced it has received a $1,083,382 million grant from the Civil Monetary Penalties Reinvestment Fund (CMP) to administer a three-year program called Opening Minds through Art (OMA). The program is designed to provide “social engagement and self-expression activities” in 102 Virginia-based nursing homes.

The grant will allow the nursing homes to apply for funding and training to adopt the program. Selected nursing homes will each receive two scholarships for staff member training and art supplies.

The program was developed by gerontologist and visual artist Dr. Elizabeth Lokon. It’s an art-making program designed to help people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of neurocognitive disorders.

“A unique aspect of the OMA program is that nursing homes’ residents with dementia are able to use their imaginations and focus on their strengths,” said Dana Parsons, vice president and legislative counsel at LeadingAge Virginia. “It also allows them to assume the role of ‘artist’ and leave a beautiful and meaningful legacy of artwork.”

University and high school student volunteers will participate in the program, expanding the reach to people seeking to help and connect with seniors in nursing homes.

Nursing homes can apply for the program here.

For more information about OMA, click here.

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