The James L. West Center for Dementia Care has piloted a first-of-its-kind “dementia friendly” concert series with featured performances by leading Fort Worth arts organizations.
The series, which kicked off in August, will run through June 2019 and is funded by charitable gifts made to the Nina Maria Cole Music and Arts Fund. Participating performing arts organizations include DVA Productions, the Fort Worth Opera/TCU Lesley Artists, Cliburn, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Texas Boys Choir and Texas Ballet Theatre.
“Studies have shown the remarkable benefits of music on the cognitive functions of people with dementia, as well as stress-relieving benefits to their caregivers,” said Cheryl Harding, CEO of the James L. West Center. “For many affected by dementia, especially those living at home, getting out can be a huge undertaking. Thanks to the generosity of Gary Cole and the arts community, we’re able to make the arts accessible to the dementia community here in Fort Worth.”
The concerts are open to residents of the James L. West Center and their caregivers. A December “Sounds of the Season” concert featuring the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra at the First Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth will be accessible to James L. West Center residents and their caregivers, as well as others in the community affected by dementia. The event is funded through the Fort Worth Arts Council and the Gary Patterson Foundation.
A spring performance with the Texas Ballet Theatre at First Presbyterian will also be open to West Center residents and the wider dementia community. Concert invitations for both the December and spring concerts will be distributed through healthcare providers and other senior living facilities that work directly with dementia patients.
This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the James L. West Center. Founded in 1993 by Eunice West in honor of her husband, James L. West, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, the Center has since served more than 2,500 families and 14,000 caregivers and has been an innovator in the field of dementia care. In addition to a 100-person residential program, the center offers a Senior Adult Day Program for people with dementia and training for healthcare providers and caregivers in how to best manage dementia in their loved ones.
“We believe those with dementia deserve to be treated with dignity and in a way that maximizes their remaining abilities,” Harding said.
About the James L. West Center
The James L. West Center is a not-for-profit organization which serves people with dementia and their families in a compassionate and spiritual environment. This Center is dedicated to providing individualized care and support to enhance the quality and dignity of each person’s life throughout the course of the disease. By participating in meaningful research and sharing its experience and knowledge, the Center is committed to enriching lives now and in the future. For more information visit www.jameslwest.org.
About Alzheimer’s disease & Dementia
- Dementia is an umbrella diagnosis for memory loss and other mental abilities that interfere with daily life caused by physical changes in the brain. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia, but there are many kinds. (Source: Alzheimer’s Association)
- Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias affects more than 5 million people in the U.S., and is expected to grow to 13.9 million in 2060. (Source: Center for Disease Control)
- 380,000 people age 65 and older are affected in Texas with Alzheimer’s disease. (Source: Texas Department of Health)
- In Tarrant County, Alzheimer’s affects nearly 14 percent of people 65 and over who receive Medicare benefits. (Source: Texas Department of Health)
- More than 16 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with dementia (Source: Alzheimer’s Association)