The 2009 documentary “I Remember Better When I Paint” explores how engagement in the creative arts can soothe anxiety, bring joy, and open up communication with people who have Alzheimer’s disease. The title cites a line by Hilda Gorenstein, a professional artist who, buoyed by the caring guidance of dedicated art students, painted prolifically in the last years of her life despite her disease.
Co-directed by Gorenstein’s daughter, Berna Huebner, and documentary filmmaker Eric Ellena, the movie showcases efforts around the world to engage people with dementia in art or other creative activities, whether in nursing homes or at museums. Clinicians, caregivers, and art therapists weigh in on the psychological benefits of art for people lost in the fog of Alzheimer’s, and researchers discuss how regions of the brain that enable creativity may still be intact late in the disease’s course. “I Remember Better When I Paint” vividly portrays the way art enriches the lives of both people with AD and their caregivers (see May 2014 news).