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Young dementia sufferers work with top artists

PUBLISHED: 18:00 23 November 2010

Eileen and Chris Stevens

Eileen and Chris Stevens

Archant

TWO celebrated artists held classes for a group of younger people with dementia in a project that their families have heaped praise on.

Thomas Gosebruch and Al Johnson, from the National Gallery, ran creative classes for a group of East Enders under 65 who have Alzheimer’s.

The pairing was organised by the Alzheimer’s Society, as an opportunity for the residents to keep their minds active as well as a chance for their carers to have time off from their responsibilities.

The group has been meeting for the past 18 months and the members and their families say they have seen remarkable results in their progress.

Jo Cass cares for her husband David who developed dementia five years ago.

Mr Cass, 64, suffered a serious head injury after being attacked in a bar in 1994 but doctors are unsure whether this brought on his condition.

Ms Cass, of Bruce Road, Bow said: “The artists got them looking at paintings and some of the interpretations were quite incredible.

“It helps people with Alzheimer’s to keep an active everyday life, which is so crucial.”

Eileen Stevens and her husband Chris, who has had Alzheimer’s for six years, also went to the classes.

Mr Stevens, 63, said: “It’s better to be with people your own age because some of the older ones are much worse than I am. I enjoyed it.”

Ms Stevens, of Ewhurst Close, Whitechapel, said the trips organised by the group are crucial to her and her husband.

She explained: “I don’t think I could cope without them. They understand the frustration you go through.

“Things like this give us both a break. Chris would like me around him 24 hours a day but he needs to get out too.”

The project, funded by Credit Suisse, included discussions on art, sketching and working with clay.

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