Celebrating Hope Beyond Diagnosis During World Alzheimer’s Month
August 24, 2022

Millions of people around the world have been affected by Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. From aging spouses to caregiving children, Alzheimer’s is often labeled as a “family disease,” meaning the progression and chronic stress of watching a loved one slowly decline affects everyone. By 2050, the Alzheimer’s Association predicts that more than 12.7 million adults aged 65 years or older will have Alzheimer’s, and more than 11 million Americans will be providing some form of care to their loved ones. While these numbers might seem staggering, we look to World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month as a much-needed reminder that, even when the odds seem stacked against us, there is still hope to be found beyond an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Oakwood Uses Creativity To Inspire Hope Beyond Diagnosis

At Oakwood Creative Care, we look beyond the disease when providing personalized care to Arizona’s aging loved ones and their caregivers who have come to us looking for a place of community and respite. Our framework focuses not on what our members with Alzheimer’s cannot do but rather on what they can do. While we know that Alzheimer’s disease causes the brain to deteriorate in certain areas – leading to impairments in thinking, memory, and judgment – we believe there is still a way to honor every member’s story while enhancing their independence, self-esteem, and quality of life.

For us, every day is an opportunity to highlight the beautiful lives each of our members have lived. Our members are mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, and friends. They have pursued remarkable careers, made their marks within their communities, and left behind inspiring legacies that deserve the greatest of celebrations. In our Day Clubs, we find that our members can reflect upon their lives and recall memories with the most significant impact when they are given the tools to be creative. By empowering their creativity, we see our members with Alzheimer’s find a new platform to amplify their voices and share stories of their own.

Hope And Creativity Never Age

Research tells us that individuals can still communicate through the creative center of their brains, even when they are no longer verbal. In fact, some skills can be reignited the moment a person with dementia is placed in front of the muse of their choice. Even if it seems unfamiliar to them at first, there is something magical about watching someone pick up right where they left off once their heart recognizes something memorable within the setting, even if for only a moment. 

One of Oakwood Creative Care’s members, Harry, was an entertainer in London during his younger years. Harry’s musical talents took him all around the world, where he would perform in live shows, including the opening act of the 1988 Calgary Olympics! While it might have been years since Harry has played professionally, his diagnosis has not kept him from being able to sit down at Oakwood’s piano and play a song from his heart – almost as if he never stopped playing at all!
Maki, another member of Oakwood Creative Care, was once the owner of a Japanese flower shop “Prime Color.” Maki is known best for the beautifully extravagant floral arrangements she made throughout her career – so much so that her shop averaged 600 weddings per month. Although Maki has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and does not always remember the beauty she creates, she is still able to find reflection in her passion for florals by recreating some of her arrangements through painting.

Reigniting Hope Beyond A Diagnosis

Someone once said, “To love a person is to learn the song that is in their heart and sing it to them when they’ve forgotten.” When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, so much of their dignity and independence is stripped from them right from the get-go. Far too often, a diagnosis overshadows the song that still lives in their heart simply because some of the words have been lost along the way – but it does not always have to be like this. Oakwood Creative Care is here to ensure every person, regardless of their age or diagnosis, has the opportunity to embark on a journey that reignites their dignity and celebrates every wonderful thing about them. We believe that, with creativity, there is hope, and with hope, there is joy.

P.S. Did you know Oakwood Creative Care is bringing back the JOY in aging? We believe a diagnosis should not have to define your life. Instead, we have devoted our mission to reigniting hope for caregivers and older adults with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other age-related challenges. Click the button below to learn more about how we do this through our research-based, cutting-edge, creative care model found at each of our Day Clubs.

Celebrating Hope Beyond Diagnosis During World Alzheimer's Month


We're a nonprofit organization based in Mesa, Arizona with three senior day club locations (and a fourth on the way) which serve older adults with Alzheimer's, dementia, Parkinson's, and various other physical or cognitive challenges. Life does not end with a diagnosis. Our members continue to learn new skills, enjoy new discoveries, make friends, laugh, and live a joy-filled life. Our team of dementia experts lead support groups, events, classes, and private sessions with caregivers and families, guiding them on the best methods to care for their loved ones while also caring for themselves.

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