This week’s Pay It Forward Friday features an account that strives to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s and how the creative arts help to improve quality of life for those with the disease: @IRememberBetter

They’ve been nominated for a Shorty Award 2013 in the Charity category and we think once you learn a bit about them, you’ll click here to help them win.

Did you know that Alzheimer’s is among the top 10 causes of death  – and the only one without a prevention, cure or medical treatment? Also, Berna Huebner the Founder and Director of Hilgos Foundation, tells us the number of Alzheimer’s cases is growing to epidemic proportions worldwide.

Hueber founded The Hilgos Foundation in 1999 to support and encourage the ongoing process of artistic creation for people who have different forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s.

Why did she start this foundation? The Atlantic shares why in its Creative Aging: The Emergence of Artistic Talents post:

The story of art and dementia is told in the documentary I Remember Better When I Paint , narrated by Olivia de Havilland. It shows how the creative arts can change the quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s disease. The co-director of the film, Berna Huebner, visited her mother in a nursing home in Chicago and asked her, “Wouldn’t you like to paint again?” Her mother, a once highly successful painter responded, “Yes, I remember better when I paint.”

Berna enlisted art students to work with her mother, and after many months she emerged from a state of apathy and once again began to paint. The use of art opened a “dialogue” of communication that had been closed for years. In memory of her mother Hilda (Hilgos) Gorenstein, Berna founded the Hilgos Foundation, which provides grants to art students who work with Alzheimer’s patients.

Does it work?

As ScienceBlogs points out, “Whatever your creative outlets are — music, painting, photography, drawing, or even writing, to name a few . . . [t]here’s nothing like engaging your imagination and creativity.”

But see for yourself:

So check them out, vote for them here and help spread the word, so those suffering (and their families) can discover a different perception and understanding of Alzheimer’s – which in turn helps to reduce the stigmatization of this disease.

(Artist image from Shutterstock)