Latest News

Cognitive Dynamics Hosts Renowned Theologian

Cognitive Dynamics Foundation, in collaboration with Dementia Friendly Alabama and the Faith United Against Alzheimer’s Coalition, is sponsoring a free lecture, “Building a Dementia Friendly Community Through a Framework of Faith,” featuring Dr. James M. Houston on Thursday, April 26, at 7 p.m. in Beeson Divinity School’s Andrew Gerow Hodges Chapel in Birmingham, Alabama.

Dr. Houston, a pupil and friend of C. S. Lewis and a world-renowned scholar in Christian spiritual theology, was also the primary caregiver for his late wife, Rita, who had dementia. He brings this foundation and a most personal perspective into discussion of what the faith community can do to serve families impacted by dementia.

In addition, Dr. Houston will be speaking to a group of students and faculty at the University of Alabama’s Bryant Conference Center on April 27, 2018 at 1 pm on the topic, “Wisdom for the Journey.”

For more information, contact Lynda Everman ldeverman@icloud.com 865-406-6178

Dr. James M. Houston

 

Cognitive Dynamics Begins Dementia Friendly Initiative

Cognitive Dynamics Foundation has partnered with Dementia Friendly Alabama and the Faith United Against Alzheimer’s Coalition (a network of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s) to more effectively support and serve Alabama residents who are living with dementia and their care partners and families.

Supported by a grant from the Central Alabama Aging Consortium via its Dementia Friendly Alabama Initiative, projects leads Lynda Everman and Dr. Don Wendorf, internationally recognized dementia advocates, will provide resources and education to faith communities in the Birmingham/Tuscaloosa area.  During the Feb. 1 – July 31, 2018 grant period, visits will be arranged with staff of faith-based organizations to talk with them about what constitutes a dementia friendly faith-based community and leave them with tangible educational and caregiving resources and ideas to initiate or expand this ministry of compassionate dementia care.

The program is aimed at two underserved populations: 1) individuals with dementia and their care partners, who due to the cognitive, physical, emotional, and financial challenges presented by this disease, are no longer able to fully participate in their faith communities; and 2) faith communities who may not know how to recognize, interact with, and support their members with dementia and their care partners.

As part of the initiative, Cognitive Dynamics will host a Distinguished Lecture by renowned theologian James M. Houston, MA, BSc, DPhil in collaboration with Beeson Divinity School at Samford University on April 26, 2018 at 7 pm.  The topic of this lecture will be “Building a Dementia Friendly Community through a Framework of Faith.”

Cognitive Dynamics hopes to collaboratively raise awareness of the unique needs of this population in our community, help reduce the stigma associated with Alzheimer’s and related dementias, and foster dementia friendly faith communities where those living with Alzheimer’s and their care partners feel respected, supported, and included, and where they can continue to participate in activities that are meaningful to them.

For more information about this program, please contact us at info@cognitivedynamics.org.

 

The Importance of Dementia Compassionate Culture

Cognitive Dynamics Founder and President Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN was a recent guest of Mike Good (Together In This) for a podcast titled “The Importance of Dementia Compassionate Culture.”  In the podcast, Good and Potts discuss the story and art of Lester E. Potts, Jr., an Alabama saw miller who discovered a hidden talent for watercolor painting after the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, and how this discovery led to new insights about the persistence of personhood and creativity in persons living with dementia.

The program created in memory of Lester Potts, Bringing Art to Life, was then discussed as a means to grow empathy and create a culture of compassion in dementia care through art therapy, storytelling, and the building of intergenerational relationships.  The program has two active locations, at the University of Alabama and in Chicago (Bringing Art to Life: Chicago), and is under development at other sites.

For more about Bringing Art to Life, check this link: Bringing Art to Life

#20: The Importance of a Dementia Compassionate Culture with Dr. Daniel Potts

Bringing Art to Life – Chicago to be Featured at Alzheimer’s Foundation Conference

Bringing Art to Life – Chicago (BATL-C), an innovative intergenerational expressive arts program for persons living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, is being highlighted at the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s Concepts in Care Educational Conference in Chicago on October 19. The program is funded, in part, by a grant from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.

A team from BATL-C will present the program from the standpoint of the student director (Angela Ray), neurologist and co-founder of the program (Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN), expressive arts therapist (Allison DeSantis, MA, LCPC) facility administrator (Ann Brennan), and a Chicago-based cognitive neurologist lead faculty (Neelum T. Aggarwal, MD).

BATL-C was piloted in 2016 in collaboration with Chicago Methodist Senior Services and Northside College Preparatory School, with support from High Socks for Hope Foundation.

For more information about BATL-C, please email us at info@cognitivedynamics.org.

 

Bringing Art to Life Research Presented at IAGG 2017

The Bringing Art to Life (BATL) Research Team presented an abstract titled “The Effects of an Intergenerational Service Learning Experience on Ageist Attitudes” highlighting outcomes data from University of Alabama Honors students enrolled in UH 300: Art to Life at the 21st IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics in San Francisco on July 25, 2017.

UH 300: Art to Life is an Honors service learning class offered at the University of Alabama as part of our foundation’s Bringing Art to Life (BATL) program. Students learn about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, participate in the Virtual Dementia Tour, volunteer at an adult dementia daycare center, participate in mindfulness activities, develop an appreciation for the challenges of caregiving, and learn the tenets of person-centered care. In the experiential part of the course, students are paired with persons living with dementia, and participate in weekly art therapy sessions facilitated by an experienced art therapist. Students develop relationships with their participants, learn their life stories, and create a leather-bound life legacy book using LifeBio.com, presenting this to their participants and their families in a celebratory dinner at the end of the semester.

A research team from the Alabama Research Institute on Aging and the UA Department of Psychology led by Keisha Ivey, MA and Rebecca Allen, PhD has been conducting research since 2015, and the current abstract addresses student data from pre-and post surveys measuring empathy and attitudes toward older adults, persons living with dementia and community service.

Compared with student controls from a psychology of aging course, BATL students exhibited statistically significant improvement in attitudes towards persons living with dementia and toward community service, as well as greater increases in empathy.

Research will be ongoing, and will involve analysis of the program’s impact on participating persons living with dementia and their caregivers.

For more information on Bringing Art to Life, read this Huffington Post article by Angel C. Duncan, MA, MFT-ATR, the Executive Arts Director for Cognitive Dynamics who helped to create the program: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/angel-duncan/bringing-art-to-life-an-i_b_9619446.html

From left to right, Dr. Anne Halli-Tierney, Dr. Rebecca Allen, and Dr. Daniel C. Potts at the 21st IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics

“Do You Know Me Now? Wins Silver Remi Award

Do You Know Me Now?, a short documentary about personhood and relationships in Alzheimer’s and other Dementias from Cognitive Dynamics, has won a Silver Remi Award from the Worldfest Houston International Film Festival.

The documentary highlights the lives and stories of two Canadian and two American persons with dementia (Rita Houston, Joan Borrie, Ed Feil and Lester E. Potts, Jr.) and their care partners, Dr. James Houston, Cathie Borrie, Naomi Feil and Ethelda Potts.

The documentary demonstrates how personhood persists despite dementia, and shows ways by which these care partners were able to tap into that personhood and build meaningful relationships and experience joy in the moment.

The documentary will eventually be made available for purchase and download.  Please watch future news posts from our website for further information.

Lester Potts’ Art Now Available on LestersLegacy.com

The watercolor art of Lester E. Potts, Jr., an artist with Alzheimer’s disease, is now available for purchase at http://www.lesterslegacy.com/.

Lester, a rural Alabama saw miller, had never painted until after the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. Lester’s newly-found creativity improved his quality of life and had many other benefits. His art has been shown from Beverly Hills to Paris, has been the subject of research, and appears in articles, textbooks, devotional books and documentaries.

Lester’s art has been used as a tool of engagement and reminiscence between care givers and persons with dementia. 

Prints of Lester’s art are available in different sizes on the http://www.lesterslegacy.com/ website.  In addition, 5 styles of greeting cards are available, with short verses composed by Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN on the back covers of each.

If you are not interested in purchasing, you may simply peruse the beautiful art that appears on the page.

Proceeds from the sale of all products appearing on http://www.lesterslegacy.com/ go toward supporting the mission and programs of Cognitive Dynamics

 

Potts and Duncan to speak at Re-Imagine Dementia Conference

Cognitive Dynamics Founder and President, Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN, and Executive Arts Director, Angel C. Duncan, MA, MFT-ATR will co-present at the Re-Imagine Life With Dementia Conference in Atlanta, GA on July 27, 2017. 

The conference is sponsored by the Dementia Action Alliance, and brings together the diverse dementia community for inspiring discussions, learning experiences, and engaging interactions.

Potts and Duncan will highlight Bringing Art to Life, an innovative program developed in collaboration with the University of Alabama Honors College which brings art therapy and life story preservation to persons with Alzheimer’s disease and others causes of dementia  and their caregivers.

Musical Concert to benefit Cognitive Dynamics

Well-known Birmingham, Alabama acoustic music venue, Moonlight on the Mountain, will host a night of Bluegrass, Gospel, Folk, and Barbershop music on March 4, 2017 at 7:30 pm, benefiting Cognitive Dynamics Foundation and its programs.

The event features musical groups Shades Mountain Air, Drexel Rayford and Friends and Southern Harmony.

Proceeds and donations from the event will go to support Cognitive Dynamics Foundation’s programs that improve quality of life for people with dementia and their caregivers through the arts and storytelling, such as Bringing Art to Life.

The cost of admission is $20, CASH ONLY. Food and drink may be brought in, and doors open at 7 pm.

The address of the venue is 585 Shades Crest Road, Birmingham, Alabama 35226.

For more information, please visit the event’s Facebook page, here:

http://www.facebook.com/events/408041572873450/

Cognitive Dynamics Launches Bringing Art to Life Chicago

Cognitive Dynamics Foundation has launched Bringing Art to Life Chicago, an innovative art therapy program for persons with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.  The program will be based on the past 5 years’ success of Bringing Art to Life in partnership with the University of Alabama Honors College in the service learning course, UH Art to Life.

The program will bring art therapy and the opportunity for empathic, intergenerational relationships to persons with dementia and students in the Chicago area, as well as education and support for their caregivers.

Our team includes Project Directors and former UA Art to Life students, Angela Ray and Cyrus Alavi, Lead Physician and Rush University Neurologist, Neelum Aggarwal, MD, and VA Lead, Kevin Hull, JD.

The program is supported in part by the High Socks for Hope Foundation, a nonprofit started by Chicago White Sox pitcher, David Robertson and his wife, Erin.  The photographs below were made at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago at a recent fundraiser hosted by High Socks for Hope.

For more information about the program, please contact BringingArtToLifeChicago@gmail.com.

BATL Chicago team Angela Ray, Neelum Aggarwal, MD, and Kevin Hull, JD

BATL Chicago Project Directors, Angela Ray and Cyrus Alavi

Chicago White Sox pitcher, David Robertson, wife, Erin, Angela Ray and Neelum Aggarwal, MD