Latest News

Bringing Art to Life Program Featured in Mosaic Magazine

University of Alabama Honors College Mosaic Magazine has published an article by Rachel Wilburn titled “A New Beginning.” The article highlights Cognitive Dynamics Foundation’s Bringing Art to Life program, offered as an undergraduate service learning course (UH 300: Art to Life).

You may read the article beginning on page 2 at this link:
A New Beginning

Marley and Potts Publish “Finding Joy in Alzheimer’s: New Hope for Caregivers”

Here is an excerpt from  the back cover of the book: “Here’s a hope-filled book about Alzheimer’s caregiving. It was written by Marie Marley, PhD – a well-known author on dementia issues – and neurologist Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN, both experts on caregiving. With a Foreword by Maria Shriver, this groundbreaking volume will give you hope in the midst of the darkness of Alzheimer’s and other dementias. You can come to terms with your loved one’s condition and free yourself to experience joyous interactions. Part I covers a variety of issues, such as the authors’ belief that people with Alzheimer’s can still enjoy life, how to overcome denial, five especially difficult situations, the role of grief on the journey to acceptance, and letting go of resentment through making peace with God. In Part II the authors provide 55 helpful tips for visiting people with Alzheimer’s. Part III consists of numerous short stories illustrating the authors’ joyous interactions with their loved ones. The stories will warm your heart and light your way along the path to achieving true joy.”

Morgan and Potts Publish “Treasure for Alzheimer’s”

Cognitive Dynamics is honored to announce the release of Treasure for Alzheimer’s – Reflecting on experiences with the art of Lester E. Potts, Jr., by Richard L. Morgan, PhD & Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN. The book contains a series of reflections on Dr. Morgan’s experiences using the artwork of Lester E. Potts, Jr. to connect with people who have Alzheimer’s disease or Dementias of other causes.

We are grateful to our editors – Lynda Everman, Don Wendorf, PsyD, proofreader – Ellen W. Potts, MBA, and to our reviewers – Mara Botonis, Cathie Borrie, Rev. Dr. William B. Randolph and Kevin Jameson. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of this book will go to support the documentary film, “Do You Know Me Now?”

The book will soon be available on Amazon.com, but may be ordered now at the link below. https://www.createspace.com/5708351

 

“Bringing Art to Life” to Open in Chicago

Bringing Art to Life, an exhibit opening at the National Museum of Health and Medicine Chicago June 5, 2015, from 6 to 9 pm, will feature art by Lester E. Potts, Jr., a saw miller-turned-watercolor artist after the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and poetry by his son, Alabama neurologist Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN. The exhibit will highlight art and design as quality of life-promoting therapies for people with neurodegenerative disease, as well as techniques to enhance the effectiveness of caregiving. Elizabeth Barber, PhD will discuss her research on art and interior design as tools to create therapeutic environments especially for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD), and which lessen caregiver burden. A panel discussion will include distinguished AD and PD physicians experienced in the expressive arts, and an art therapist. Panelists will include Neelum Aggarwal, MD, Elizabeth Barber, PhD, Theresa Dewey, ATR, LCPC, Christopher Goetz, MD, and Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN. The Greater Illinois Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association is a partner for the event. The exhibit will run from June 5 – 26.

 

Do You Know Me Now” Crowd Funding Goes Live on Indiegogo

DO YOU KNOW ME NOW ?

Life is about relationships, and relationships are built through our unique human traits – the things that make us who we are.  All of us have a story!  And our stories need to be heard.

People who have Alzheimer’s disease or other causes of dementia share our humanity– no one loses their personhood just because they have memory loss or confusion.  And they still need to be in relationship with others who love and care for them.  To truly know someone we must appreciate their life stories, as well as the particular gifts and passions that they contribute to the world.

Do You Know Me Now? is a feature documentary exploring relationship and personhood in people who have Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of dementia.  Our film will take a novel look at what it means to be a person with dementia who is still very much alive and possessing those traits upon which relationships may be built, even late into the disease.  We will highlight the stories of some very special people  and their loved ones who have found ways to connect — who have discovered joy, beauty and self-expression despite the losses.

Relationship that is deep and meaningful is still very much a possibility despite advancing cognitive loss, and should be the standard if we are to create what one of the film’s featured caregivers calls a “culture of compassion.”  Such care calls us to take an empathic journey into the very core of the person with dementia in search of the beauty and relational energy contained within.  We believe that our society cannot afford to lose this human treasure.

We have completed approximately half of the work needed to produce our documentary and are seeking the remainder through this Indiegogo crowd funding drive.  We need to raise $75,000 to finish the film, and get it out to the world. 

Will you help us tell the stories of people with Alzheimer’s and other causes of dementia, to show the world that they are still vibrant souls capable of meaningful relationships?  Will you help us share the hope, end the stigma, and create a culture of compassion?

Thank you for your support!

Do You Know Me Now? – A New Documentary from Cognitive Dynamics

Are you, or is someone you love a caregiver for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia? Are you in need of inspiration and hope amidst this experience? Do you find it difficult to reach your loved one, to remain in relationship with them due to their memory loss?

Do You Know Me Now? seeks to show you ways in which you can reach your loved in the moment and have a mutually fulfilling relationship with them – one which discovers the person beneath the disease and builds upon remaining abilities and personality traits that still remain.

Our film will tell the inspirational stories of Cathie Borrie and her mother (The Long Hello: Memory, My Mother and Me), Rita and James Houston, and Lester Potts, and will share the wisdom and experience of well-known experts such as Naomi Feil (founder of The Validation Training Institute), and Alzheimer’s advocates such as Lynda Everman and Don Wendorf.

Life is about relationships, and these relationships need not be lost due to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. This trailer for Do You Know Me Now? is part of a crowd-funding campaign which will start in May, 2015, and seeks to raise the funds necessary to complete this documentary and get it out to you, to your loved ones, and to the world.

You may watch the film’s trailer here: https://youtu.be/9rLyDgti1h8

Please be watching for a crowd funding release on Indiegogo in May, 2015.

Cathie Borrie, Daniel Potts, Judith Murray, Rita Houston and James Houston

Cathie Borrie, Daniel Potts, Judith Murray, Rita Houston and James Houston

Thank you.

Naomi Feil and Daniel C. Potts

Naomi Feil and Daniel C. Potts

 

Lester E. Potts Jr.

Lester E. Potts, Jr.

Lester Potts’ Art to be Featured in Chicago Exhibit

The National Museum of Health and Medicine Chicago will present an exhibit during the month of June entitled “Bringing Art to Life: Expressive Art and Design in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Patient Care” featuring the watercolors of Lester E. Potts, Jr. and poetry of Cognitive Dynamics Founder and President, Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN.  

Mr. Potts began painting only after the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, and produced some 100 watercolors over a 3 year period while attending Caring Days Adult Dementia Daycare Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  His work has been presented at the Alzheimer’s Association’s International Conference (AAICAD) in Paris, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s national conference, and  the David W. Streets Gallery in Beverly Hills, among other venues.  In addition, it has been featured in the LA Times, Neurology Now, Best Alzheimer’s Products, Seasons of Caring and in recently published textbooks of Behavioral and Geriatric Neurology.

Bringing Art to Life seeks to continue a dialogue about how art can be used to enhance the lives and care of people with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. The exhibit will look at art and design as expressive therapies for the neurodegenerative patient, as well as techniques to enhance the effectiveness of caregiving. Research by Dr. Elizabeth Barber will also be featured in the exhibit; Dr. Barber has studied how artwork and interior design can help motivate and provide a beneficial neurological environment especially for people with Parkinson’s and ease the lives of both patients and their caretakers.

Art to Life to Start Another Semester

Cognitive Dynamics is excited to start the next semester of Art to Life today at the University of Alabama Honors College. Art to Life is a service learning Honors seminar course which pairs students and people with Alzheimer’s in art therapy sessions in which life stories are elicited and preserved via the technologies of LifeBio.com. Students learn about Alzheimer’s and caregiving, experience the Virtual Dementia Tour, volunteer at an adult daycare facility (The Mal and Charlotte Moore Center for Caring Days), and develop empathy and understanding through being present in relationship. Students journal about their experiences, and then honor participants with leather-bound life stories and framed art in a dinner celebration. This year a graduate geropsychology student will be conducting outcomes-based research on participant, caregiver and student experiences. Our hope is that people with Alzheimer’s will be honored and validated, caregivers will be given respite, and our students will develop empathy, a force powerful enough to create a widespread culture of compassion in the care of our citizens with chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. photo (12)

Dr. Potts Interviewed for U.S. News and World Report Article

Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN was interviewed for an article on the use of poetry and other creative arts in the care and treatment of persons with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.  The article, released today, was written by Kristine Crane, a Patient Advice reporter at U.S. News.

The piece highlights the work of Mind’s Eye Poetry, an innovative organization founded by Molly Middleton Meyer.  Meyer’s inspiration comes from personal experience: she lost both her parents to Alzheimer’s disease.  A self-described “closet poet,” Meyer decided to get a Master of Fine Arts in poetry, and she now facilitates poetry workshops with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients nationwide.  During a workshop, each person contributes at least one line to a group poem – she’s facilitated more than 700 poems this way.

Dr. Potts was asked to comment about his father’s creativity which revealed itself after the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, and which provided the spark to start his own creative fire.  Shortly before the elder Potts’ death, Dr. Potts started writing poetry as a way to combat the stress of his father’s illness.  He and his family published The Broken Jar in 2006, a volume of his father’s art paired with his own poems, and donated the book and all proceeds to Caring Days Adult Dementia Daycare Center in Tuscaloosa, AL, the facility where Mr. Potts learned to paint.  Cognitive Dynamics was founded to bring similar opportunities involving the arts to others with dementia and their caregivers.

As an arts advocate for the American Academy of Neurology, Potts also notes much clinical interest in the healing power of the arts. “People on the front lines are pulling the science and the art together because they are tapping more deeply than most of our therapies,” he says. “We’re going to have to tap deeply into the spiritual and emotional to make a difference in our care.”

The article may be accessed in full at the following link:

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2014/12/29/unlocking-the-inner-poet-how-poetry-helps-people-with-dementia

Lester Potts’s Art Featured in New Book of Caregiver Meditations

From ClergyAgainstAlzheimer’s comes Seasons of Caring: Meditations for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers, a first-of-its-kind interfaith volume offering comfort and hope to Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers, their families and friends, clergy and faith leaders, and care professionals. Seasons of Caringis available on CreateSpace. Click here to learn more.

seasonsofcaring2

Seasons of Caring includes more than 140 original meditations from 72 religious leaders and care specialists – many of them caregivers themselves – representing  some 17 faith traditions. Each writer draws upon his or her years of experience to offer words of hope, encouragement and understanding to those who are now on this journey, and to give voice to the unique challenges confronting Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers. Contributors speak from the perspective of their distinct faith traditions, yet are united in their support of families facing Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Seasons of Caring will have special meaning for facilitators and members of Alzheimer’s support groups, and will be a catalyst for group reflection, discussion and individual meditation.

All proceeds go to ClergyAgainstAlzheimer’s, a multifaith national network of clergy, laity and faith organizations working to focus our nation’s attention on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, to promote dignity and compassionate care for those with Alzheimer’s, and to support families and caregivers.

Seasons of Caring features the watercolors of Alzheimer’s artist Lester E. Potts, Jr., who discovered his gift of creativity after the diagnosis.  Cognitive Dynamics President Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN brought the idea for the collection to the ClergyAgainstAlzheimer’s network, and served as the book’s Editor-in-chief, with associate editors Lynda Everman, Richard Morgan, PhD, Rabbi Steve Glazer, and Max Wallack.