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Oglebay Institute and Wheeling Hospital Present ‘Alzheimer’s Poetry Project’ Training

January 31, 2020

WHEELING – Through a partnership between Oglebay Institute and Wheeling Hospital, students at Wheeling Catholic Central High School will learn to use poetry to awaken the minds and spirits of those living with memory loss.

New York-based poet Gary Glazner, founder of the internationally acclaimed Alzheimer’s Poetry Project (APP), will instruct students and prepare them to conduct an outreach program with residents at Wheeling Hospital’s Continuous Care Center (CCC).

Built around the concepts of creative aging and person-centered care, Glazner’s curriculum uses humor, joy and the power of the spoken word to trigger memories, improve happiness, reduce isolation and provide social and intellectual stimulation.

Students have been studying Glazner’s curriculum and will train with him directly during an in-school workshop and field trip Feb. 4 to the CCC, where they will recite and create poetry with residents.

The outreach program is part of a new art exhibition and educational series that opens March 5 at Oglebay Institute’s Stifel Fine Arts Center. “Presence: An Exploration of Aging through Art” examines the universal, yet intensely personal, experience of growing old.

Through painting, photography, sculpture, written word and mixed media, artists from throughout the United States explore a broad range of perspectives–from thriving lifestyles to the harsher realities of aging. Additionally, a series of educational programs explore the various facets of aging and how art can play a role in that experience.

The exhibit and programs are sponsored by Wheeling Hospital, The Health Plan and United Bank with additional support provided by the Home Support Foundation.

Michael McKowen, curator of exhibitions at OI’s Stifel Fine Arts Center, said Glazner’s use of poetry in a therapeutic way and his multigenerational approach produce benefits for elders, young people and the community at large.

“The Alzheimer’s Poetry Project provides creative therapy for those struggling with Alzheimer’s and dementia and also engages young students in poetry and outreach with older generations. Moments of bonding between generations provide opportunities for young people to develop a greater understanding of life and what it is to be human. This can only strengthen and bond a community.”

The National Endowment for the Arts listed Glazner’s work as a “best practice.” NBC's “Today” show, NPR's “All Things Considered” and the PBS NewsHour series, “Where Poetry Lives” have featured segments on Glazner’s work. To date, the APP has held programming in 26 states and internationally in Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Poland and South Korea, serving more than 35,000 people living with dementia.

During his time in Wheeling, Glazner will also train students at Triadelphia Middle School, who will then conduct a therapeutic poetry session with residents at Elmhurst, The House of Friendship.

Both outreach programs will be documented through photography and video, which will on display in the “Presence” exhibition along with written reflections by the students.

Oglebay Institute president Danielle McCracken said the community is at the heart of the organization’s mission.

“We are constantly paying attention to relevant topics that affect our residents and asking ourselves how can we use our programs to enhance the lives of those we serve,” she said. “We are thrilled to present the exhibit and educational outreach programs because not only will we showcase incredible artwork from around the country but also provide platforms where people can connect with each other and find support and information around the topic of aging,” said Oglebay Institute president Danielle McCracken. “We are very grateful for the generous support of our sponsors for helping us to bring this inspiring exhibition to residents of the Ohio Valley.”

Douglass Harrison, Wheeling Hospital CEO, said, “At Wheeling Hospital, we have an obligation to care for and educate people regarding health care throughout all stages of life. The Alzheimer’s Poetry Project is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the care that is needed for helping people with this dreadful disease, but also educating people on what you can do to reduce the risks.

“Working through our youth in the community is a wonderful opportunity for them to see the many faces of health care and what a vital part it plays in every community. Often times in Alzheimer’s patients, making a connection can make all the difference.”


For more information on “Presence: An Exploration of Aging Through Art,” visit www.OIonline.com/presence.

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Contact: Thea Gompers, Director, Marketing/Public Relations 304-243-3705
Wheeling Hospital
Misty Klug, Director, Marketing & Communication 304-242-2072
Oglebay Institute
Wheeling Hospital

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