Building bridges through the arts

Dr. Dalia Gottlieb-Tanaka is recognized by Alzheimer Society of Canada

Dr. Dalia Gottlieb-Tanaka has been recognized by the Alzheimer Society of Canada for her work with bringing creative activities and the arts to people living with dementia.

Dr. Dalia Gottlieb-Tanaka has been recognized by the Alzheimer Society of Canada for her work with bringing creative activities and the arts to people living with dementia.

Dr. Dalia Gottlieb-Tanaka is passionate about the link between creative activities and preventing or slowing down dementia. And now, the director of The Society for the Arts in Dementia Care has been recognized by the Alzheimer Society of Canada in its research program’s 2016 Impact Report for researchers who are making a difference.

“It was a surprise and a shock to be included with prominent medical researchers in Canada,” said Gottlieb-Tanaka. “Firstly, I did not think that the field of care and the arts had gained such an important spot up there with medical research, but it is wonderful.

“However, it was not me alone doing it. The list is long and this is a great opportunity to thank everyone for contributing towards this recognition.”

To help track changes in the abilities of people with dementia, Gottlieb-Tanaka and two associates developed the Creative Expressive Abilities Assessment tool.

And in addition to running the At This Age group in Vernon, she is also the driving force behind the annual Creative Expression, Communication and Dementia (CECD) conferences, which are open to anyone interested in dementia care and creative activities.

“Our conference language is understandable and the information can be implemented by anyone. Participants can use what they’ve learned in their home and communities.

“It’s all about sharing, giving and receiving ideas. Students, staff and administrators become aware of the possibilities of improving care for residents in long-term care facilities or in their homes. Advocates from other countries can learn different ways of using creative arts to bring awareness to our society.”

While Gottlieb-Tanaka said it’s still a race to find the cure for dementia, there are ways to help those living with it. “Creative arts like painting, music and drama can improve psychological health, at least momentarily, and empower people living with dementia. They can also open new channels of communication.”

For more on the 2016 CECD conference, see www.cecd-society.org/events.html