Life doesnt have to stop with a diagnosis, and support for families who have a loved one whos been diagnosed comes in many forms. One way the Alzheimers Association does that is by providing safe spaces for caregivers and their patients.

Every week, the Southwest Desert Chapter of the Alzheimers Association hosts the Art of Memory Tour at the Tucson Museum of Art.

“Even though we cant do many of the things we used to do, were busy,” said Rick Levy, a caregiver to his wife, Susan.

Its just one of the many free resources offered by the organization and something Rick and his wife Susan look forward to every week. When his wife began showing early stages of dementia, he wanted to find a way they could both get out and continue living life, despite a diagnosis that affects nearly 7 million people over the age of 65.

“Everyones treated with respect, recognized at their own level. Its a little community.”

The Art of Memory Tour gives dementia patients a chance to engage in critical thinking as they break down different art pieces while also socializing with those around them. All things Community Executive Morgen Hartford says are important in helping families navigate an often emotional process.

“We know that a dementia diagnosis isnt the end. And for families, we want them to recognize that the person with dementia has so much to offer throughout the disease process,” Hartford explained.

Each tour concludes with a hands-on workshop. This allows patients like Blaine Patrick to delve into their creativity while giving caregivers like his wife, Marlene, the chance to feel at ease being surrounded by others going through similar circumstances.

“I feel very comfortable here as a caregiver because Ive made very good friends,” Marlene said. “And I dont have to worry about what my spouse says while hes enjoying the artwork also.”

Hartford hopes programs like the Art of Memory Tour empower caregivers and patients to continue living life despite their diagnosis through programs like the Art of Memory Tour.

“They can do this, they can feel safe, they can feel supported, beyond even what the Alzheimers Association provides,” he said.