Oil & Art Give Comfort to Memory Care Patients

Bismarck - Alzheimers and dimentia affect more than 3 million people in the US every year.

The effects of memory loss, mental decline and confusion can't be reversed.
But, they can be temporarily improved.

Happening now...Emily Medalen is live in studio to tell us a very unique way a senior living center in the community is doing that. 

Good morning Emily.

Tim and Alysia, Touchmark Senior Living Center in Bismarck created the fragrance and frames program to help residents with dimentia and alzheimers.

The program incorporates essential oils, paint, and some unexpected friendships.

"Oh, I love Hilda." said Whitney Ruscheinsky, Life Enrichment Coordinator, Memory Care.
Whitney Ruscheinsky and Hilda Michaelis get together often to sit down and paint - but it's not your average art session.

"Now, I want you to smell that. Tell me what it smells like," said Ruscheinsky.
"Orange... and blue," said Hilda Michaelis, Patient.

Fragrance and frames combines essential oils with paint to give memory care residents a soothing outlet.
As patients paint, the scents from the oils fill the room...

"Less agitation during the day, we have been able to lower psychotropic medications, which is a huge thing with people that have memory loss," said Amy Miller, Life Enrichment Director.

...and it's proving to leave a beautiful mark.

"They may find a connection in there, whether it be reminiscing of something that happened 20 years ago, or maybe it's something that happened this morning.. This program, combined with the oils, has shown some of that clarity, that is just amazing," said Miller. 

"We have a lot of fun... don't we?" asked Michaelis.
"Yes, we do," replied Ruscheinsky.

"That's all I wanted out of it," added Ruscheinsky.

"It's something that she loves and enjoys, can laugh through...and come out feeling successful - like she's done something," said Miller.

"You did awesome, it looks beautiful!" said Ruscheinsky.
"It's a pity I don't get the money for it," said Michaelis.

Their paintings are not only a thing of beauty - but they are creating friendships to last a lifetime...
And that - Hilda and Whitney will always remember.

It was remarkable to see the bond between those two, and to see how much Hilda loved her fragrance and frames session.

This is something that's available to Memory Care patients at Touchmark in Bismarck.

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