The project was inspired by Shriver’s quest to find ways to be close to her father, Sargent Shriver, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2003. He passed away in 2011.
“When I would go to visit my dad as his disease progressed, I had fewer and fewer things that I could do with him,” Shriver told NBC’s TODAY.
“I could take a walk with him, but a lot of times he didn’t want to walk. I played puzzles with him and sometimes drew on a piece of paper.”
Images in Maria Shriver’s book were developed through visits to the nursing home. They include upbeat, positive, fun, hopeful images for stress-relief.
It also includes tips for caregivers culled from conversations with doctors and families.
Dr. Richard Isaacson, director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital says the coloring book can help start a conversation and help families do an activity together.
Isaacson tells TODAY, “The person with Alzheimer’s may not be able to communicate his or her thoughts as well as they used to or may not remember what happened to the conversation 10 minutes ago, but they’re able to express themselves through art — through drawing.”
Dr. Isaacson continues, “Some patients with Alzheimer’s like to move and can’t sit still… coloring is a great way to refocus negative energy and do something more calm.”
Don’t forget to pick up a copy of Maria Shriver’s book. Links to purchasing it here:
Barnes and Noble:
If you’re an Alzheimer’s caregiver and you pick up the book, please let me know if and how it’s helped. I’d love to hear and share your story. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject line: Caregiver Story: Color Your Mind book
Thank you Maria Shriver for helping Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers!