Therapeutic Thematic Arts Programming

Using the Therapeutic Thematic Arts Programming Method to Enhance Socialization and Mood in Those Diagnosed with Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease

Presented by: Christine Winter, Alanna Barnes, Amy Mauro, Lauren Desimone, Ariel Salmon, Amanda Kythreotis
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Linda Levine-Madori, Professor of Therapeutic Recreation
















For the following research study, six students visited the Promenade at Blue Hill. This facility offers assisted living as well as a compassionate memory care unit and is located in Pearl River, New York. Over the past few years, these types of facilities have become commonplace as more older adults are diagnosed with the early stages of Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. Both conditions cause residents to self-isolate, decrease participation in daily activities, and lose socialization and language abilities.

The students, from St. Thomas Aquinas College and under the supervision of Dr. Levine Madori, were asked to provide weekly TR programming specifically designed to enhance socialization, increase time spent in programming, and decrease isolation. Furthermore, these activities were carried out with the goal of increasing mood and relaxation through implementing the Therapeutic Thematic Arts Programming (TTAP®) Method.

Residents self-selected to participate in these themed activity sessions, which were run by students once a week for nine consecutive weeks. They attended each session and gradually developed rich social bonds with one another during this time. Additionally, the residents reported that they looked forward to these creative arts activities more than any other programming offered by the facility. As evidenced by the pre-post questions and student observations, it is clear that the residents demonstrated positive outcomes in all five psychosocial domains.