Photo courtesy of Lynne Shallcross/KHN | article
“For today, there are no doctor’s visits. No long afternoons with nothing to do. No struggles over bathing.
“At the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., a group of older adults — some in wheelchairs, some with Alzheimer’s — sit with their caregivers in a semicircle around a haunting portrait of a woman in white.
“‘Take a deep breath,’ says Lorena Bradford, head of accessible programs at the National Gallery. She’s standing before ‘The Repentant Magdalen’ by Georges de La Tour.
“‘Now, let your eyes wander all over the painting,’ Bradford says. ‘Take it all in. What do you think is going on?'”
“‘I think she looks sad,’ says Marie Fanning, of Alexandria, Va., who has Alzheimer’s.
“‘Yes. Yes, she looks sad,’ Bradford agrees.
“‘This is such a gift,’ Bill Fanning, Marie’s 77-year-old husband and caregiver, says of the outing.
“Across the country, community groups, hospitals, government agencies and nonprofits are starting to do more to support at least some of the estimated 42 million friends and family members who are the primary caregivers of adults and children who have disabilities, are recovering from surgeries and illnesses or are coping with Alzheimer’s and other chronic diseases.”
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