An exhibition of 84 poignant photographs demonstrating a new global approach to caring for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias — and sharply disputing common stereotypes of dementia patients — opens today and continues through April 28 at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University’s downtown Manhattan campus.
The images of the exhibition, Love, Loss and Laughter, focus on the capabilities people with Alzheimer’s have left, not those they have lost. The photographs depict people with Alzheimer’s engaging with friends, loved ones, and caregivers; visiting art museums; singing and playing musical instruments; preparing meals, getting dressed for a day on the town; interacting with pets; or simply enjoying serene moments of contemplation. The exhibition is accompanied by a book by the same name, and a symposium about reducing the stigma of Alzheimer’s and related diseases is scheduled at Pace for Wednesday, April 25.
The photographer and author, Cathy Greenblat, PhD, is a sociologist who arguably is the world’s leading documentarian of this new approach to Alzheimer’s care. Having lost her mother and maternal grandparents to the disease, she has studied and photographed care in memory clinics, homes, day programs and residential centers in the United States, Canada, Japan, France, India, Monaco and the Dominican Republic.
The images establish Greenblat as both an accomplished artist and a powerful advocate for an approach that improves the experience of caregivers while allowing people with Alzheimer’s to sustain connections to others and their own past lives at far higher levels than is generally believed possible.
The exhibition’s debut at Pace marks the culmination of an international tour which so far has reached audiences in locations including Washington, D.C., Glasgow, Toronto, Nice, Madrid, Salamanca, and twelve cities in India. A parallel exhibition opened at the University College London in the UK on March 7, and will move to The UN Building in Geneva in April.
The author of 14 books and more than 100 articles, Greenblat is Professor Emerita of Sociology at Rutgers University, Artist in Residence at the University Hospital Network (CHU) of Nice, France, and an Honorary Research Fellow at the International Observatory on End of Life Care at the UK’s Lancaster University.
The exhibition is sponsored by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), Pace University, and the University’s College of Health Professions.
Photography (c) Cathy Greenblat.