Making the Arts Accessible to People with Dementia


Meet Me at Mesa – Making the Arts Accessible to People with Dementia

As director of the Betty Ehart Senior Center and as a music therapist, Pauline Schneider sees both the difficulties dementia sufferers and their caregivers face daily and also how music and the arts can help people connect and enjoy the arts’ beauty and energizing effects.

“I have worked with people in all phases of dementia and even  those who seem to have stopped relating to the world around them  remarkably respond to music. One person, who hadn’t spoken for quite some time, began to sing along with a familiar tune from decades ago and knew all the words, stayed on key, and stayed focused until it was over.”

Schneider invited Mary Yamada of the Los Alamos Retirement Community who has worked with people with dementia for fifteen years and Carol Meine of Mesa Public Library arts programming, to get together and create a pilot program for people with dementia and their caregivers to meet in a non clinical setting to enjoy the arts together.

The program was inspired by one in New York called Meet Me at MOMA, the Museum of Modern Art, in which selected art works on a particular theme are presented with attendees guided in discussion about what they see and what the images evoke in the moment and  from their memories.

They are also, in keeping with the particular emphasis of the day, invited to make art, write poetry and chat with others.

Meet Me at Mesa

Saturday, Nov. 3

Saturday, Dec. 1

FREE and all programs run from 9:30-11 a.m. on the 3rd floor of Mesa Public Library

For more details about the MOMA program please visit:

Some testimonials:


This new program in Los Alamos will explore art, music, and poetry and the first will feature local musicians, art related to music, and poetry inspired by both; it is interactive and participation by everyone is encouraged. Those interested in attending Meet Me at Mesa  should contact Pauline Schneider at 662-8920 to sign up since space is limited to a total of twenty-ten people in any stage of dementia and their ten caregivers with a minimum of five each. This is not a drop off program but one designed to encourage enjoyment of the arts by both those with dementia and their supporters in an informal and relaxed setting.

So far, two programs are planned, one on Saturday, November 3 and one on Saturday, December 1 from 9:30-11 am upstairs at Mesa Public Library.

Each session will include visual arts, music, and poetry experiences and will encourage creativity in the group and ideas to try at home.   Call Pauline at 662-8920 to sign up.


Sponsored by Los Alamos Retirement Community, Mesa Public Library and                          Los Alamos Retired & Senior Organization


For more information about these and ongoing programs, please visit the County website:, call 662-8240/662-8253, or send an email to

LOS ALAMOS website support locally by OviNuppi Systems