James L. West Residents Create Artwork to Support a TCU Nursing Organization’s Vision of a Dementia-Friendly Fort Worth

/

With the holidays around the corner, TCU nursing students provide a way for community members to purchase unique presents with a purpose.

Nothing brings the world to life more than art. That’s why James L. West Center for Dementia Care is donating resident-made artwork and jewelry to Students for a Dementia Friendly TCU (SFADFT) for its upcoming virtual community auction on Oct. 23 to support dementia education in Fort Worth.

The auction will benefit the SFADFT and provide the means for the students to advocate for proper care, treatment, and respect to those living with and needing dementia care in Fort Worth. “Participation with the Students for a Dementia Friendly TCU program closely ties with our mission to provide personalized, innovative care and support for families,” said Jaime Cobb, Vice President of Dementia and Caregiver Education at James L. West.

At James L. West, a good life means more than just good care. Rooted in this belief, the West Center invests in understanding each person, including their personality, background, and current needs. This deep understanding allows the West Center to design a program that helps the resident flourish, be active, and receive the individualized care they need.

The James L. West Center has heavily influenced the curriculum taught within the Harris College of Nursing and Health Science. Both in clinical settings and the classroom, the center’s caregivers and education team have taught students the proper way to care for those living with dementia. Specifically, presentations that the West Center shared with TCU nursing students planted the seed to create a semester-long nursing class explicitly focused on dementia care. The community auction aims to raise money to support the student mission of forming an advocacy group that assists people living with dementia in the Fort Worth community.

Unfortunately, cases of dementia are not slowing down. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is a growing public health crisis. There are 400,000 people ages 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s in Texas, and about 13 percent of people 45 and older encounter subjective cognitive decline , the self-reported experience of worsening confusion or memory loss.

As of 2019, approximately 5 million Americans were living with Alzheimer’s disease. Without a cure or treatment, it’s projected that that number could almost triple to 14 million Americans by 2050.

With numbers continuing to escalate, intentional action taken from groups like SFADFT is needed to create a city-wide vision of seeing a day where no individual, family, or community will be affected by Alzheimer’s. “The students are putting forth tremendous effort into the auction and the organization because they want to be able to give back to the Fort Worth community by providing services to people living with dementia,” said Dr. Michelle Kimzey, the TCU faculty advisor for SFADFT.

At James L. West, art is essential to the life enrichment programming for residents. The creation of artwork and jewelry pieces brings about creativity and provides social and mental stimulation and encourages the engagement of residents’ fine and gross motor skills. SFADFT’s decision to include artwork created by people living with dementia resonates with James L. West’s belief of focusing on activities that lower anxiety and increase the residents’ feeling of purpose.

“By engaging in a meaningful activity, people can express themselves in their artwork,” said Dr. Kimzey. “Artwork enhances communication and conversation. I believe people need to feel valued and have a purpose, so our collaboration to have resident artwork displayed in the auction is wonderful.”

With the holiday season quickly approaching, SFADFT believes purchasing artwork and jewelry made by those living with dementia is not only giving a beautiful present but also giving passionate students the means to champion for a community that is more aware and empathetic of Alzheimer’s and related disorders.

About James L. West Center for Dementia Care

The James L. West Center for Dementia Care, located in Fort Worth, is a not-for-profit organization committed to maintaining the quality of life for people living with Alzheimer’s, which is the most common type of dementia, and other memory loss-related obstacles they may face. Recently celebrating 27 years, James L. West’s trusted experts provide personalized care for residents, support for families, and specialized education for the community at-large. Eunice P. West created the center as a tribute to her husband, Fort Worth business leader, and philanthropist, James L. West. When caregiver support was not common, Eunice P. West was inspired to create a mission-driven, not-for-profit organization that assists the whole family from diagnosis to end of life care, conducts meaningful research, and shares its knowledge with the greater community. By directing the James L. West and Eunice P. West Charitable Trust, she was able to see her vision come to life in a non-denominational facility that cares for people living with Alzheimer’s and related disorders.

About Students for a Dementia Friendly TCU

Students for a Dementia Friendly TCU is a student-run organization that strives to raise awareness of dementia and its impact on the individual, family, and community and foster students who seek and advocate for proper care, treatment, and respect of those living with dementia. The organization’s student president is Sydney Burke, a senior nursing major, and TCU faculty advisor, Dr. Michelle Kimzey.