If you know, or love, anyone living with a memory loss, you know it can be devastating.
Larry Homan is a certified Mneme Therapist who takes art to new levels using the whole brain, to help memory patients cope.
"We use everyday activities, pleasuressuch as singing, movement, painting, storytelling and genuine praise,to stimulate different neurpathways in the brain, hoping to get it moreactive," Mneme Therapist Larry Homan said.
Diane Kristensen is one of Larry's nearly 500 clients in the region at the Touchmark Retirement Community in Sioux Falls.
Her husband, Gail, says she's been suffering from early onset Alzheimer's for about nine years. Admittedly, he's one of Larry's biggest fans.
"I'm really pleased with what I've seen,how he interacts with people. Really, very positive," Gail Kristensen said. "This isn't reversing anything, not acurative approach. It's merely bringing out talents she has that she'sstill able to express. Down the road, she may not be able to do this, that'sthe expectation."
Two paintings sitting on Gail and Diane's wall represent the two previous times Diane has worked with Larry. Each session is different as Diane's condition advances.
"If I give her a direction and she doesn'tknow where to go, I'm' going to guide her hand. when you see me doing that, I'mnot doing it for her, I'm showing her which way is which to give her moredirection and re-solidify that in the brain, Homan said.
Studies have shown there are improvements in speech cognitive areas, increased awareness of surroundings and overall happiness, good mood.
Larry knows whether that happens or not, it's always worthwhile.
"Generally, most people really enjoy it,appreciate it and when they see the painting they're surprised and shocked tosee it," he said. "This is by far the most rewarding thingI've ever had the privilege of doing."
Larry Homan is based out of Minneapolis and visited Sioux Falls as the only Mneme Therapist in the region. About 35 are certified nationwide, more are currently in training.