Alzheimer's Disease
by Tom Clements

Reflection

The aim of this pencil sketch was simply to symbolize the loneliness of Alzheimer’s sufferers, whom I have encountered regularly in the past, but have had first experience with because my grandmother suffered from the disease. I attempted to achieve this in two main ways. Firstly, I left the sketch ungrounded and hanging in space, representing the way in which the disease erodes a person’s perception of the present, thus alienating them from their social environment. Secondly, I tried to give the Alzheimer’s sufferer a rather forlorn, sad expression whilst striving to maintain the characteristic expression of vacancy and confusion present in dementia patients. The bleak, grayscale medium was also chosen to resonate with this theme.

Whole Person Care, Year Four

Comments

Thomas Sammut

15 March 2011 - 12:08:31
"This is a powerful piece that resonated with me particularly as I spent a some time working with Alzheimer's sufferers last year. I witnessed firsthand the loneliness and isolation that the disease can quickly bring to what was once a vibrant and fulfilled life."

Joanna

19 March 2012 - 11:25:01
"I think this is an increadible piece. His feeling of loneliness is presented well and made me look beyond just alzheimers at lonliness as a whole, perhaps the loneliness that many people get with old age."

Eliza

19 March 2012 - 11:25:01
"The simplicity of this piece makes it very powerful. For me the sketch being ungrounded portrays a feeling of disablement and the sharp line seems to represent some sort of cut off line - perhaps from society? "

Alice

19 March 2012 - 11:25:01
"When scrolling through the different pieces of artwork on the website, this drawing immediately jumped out at me due to the contrast between the detailed dark sketch and the vast blank white space. This effect seems representative of the isolation of Alzheimer’s patients both mentally from the people around them and perhaps physically should they now be living alone. The man appears to be looking into the distance with a puzzled expression, as though he is trying desperately to recall his past and his gripping action on the banister or rail in front of him appears to symbolise his vulnerability at the hands of his condition. WPC homework week 2"

Ben

19 March 2012 - 11:25:01
"Having had a little work experience in a care home, where most of the residents suffered from dementia, I have met a few people with the disease. I definitely feel this sketch captures how frightening it must be for the individual with it - the man's face, in particular his eyes, convey terror and confusion as to what's happening to him. He has a smart appearance - with his waist coat,jacket and well groomed beard and hair.I feel this symbolizes how he's trying to hold on to his identity as the disease progresses. Sadly though, I feel this gives the impression that the man that he once was is just in his appearance and that he's not completely there on the inside. "

Chris

19 March 2012 - 11:25:01
"This is a fantastic piece, it's fantastically intricate and detailed, you have clearly put a lot of care into it. the man's face is enormously expressive, a slightly forlorn face heavy with depression. Not only that you have given this man a personality and made your piece come alive, his smart clothes perfectly suit him and remind me of my own grandfather. Having worked with several patients in a nursing home I relate strongly to this piece and feel like it really stood out for me, I feel this piece gives the patients a voice where others have simply ignored them. Great work."

Bel

19 March 2012 - 11:25:01
"I thought this piece was beautiful and incredible powerful. Despite not having much experience Alzheimer's, this picture really moved me and made me feel as if I could better understand the emotional suffering of the disease. Wonderful work! "

Debbie

28 October 2017 - 20:04:29
"I thought this piece was very powerful and caught my attention immediately. I found the contrast of the precise pencil sketch against the plain white background really captivating. I have had personal experience of Alzheimers as my grandad had suffered from it and I feel like this piece excellently captures the look of vulnerability and loneliness that is often seen in the eyes of those who suffer from it. I think the detail in the man's expression and even in his clothes really gives a voice to Alzheimer's sufferers even without the use of words. "

Catherine

29 October 2017 - 15:23:16
"This piece of work resonated with me due to my own experience of my own grandfather who suffers from Alzheimers. I feel it beautifully captures the vulnerability of the elderly in general and not just those with Alzheimers. The fact the sketch is ungrounded and hanging in space, shows a sense of detachment and isolation from society. The forlorn expression of the man depicts very powerfully feelings of loneliness. A great piece of work!"

Sophie Sellar

29 October 2017 - 22:02:11
"This piece of work immediately stood out to me due to my own family experience with Alzheimers/Parkinson's disease. I feel as though this piece beautifully captures the isolation and feelings of loneliness that those who have the disease experience. The detail in the mans facial expression is incredible and emphasises the distance and detachment he is experiencing. "

Maximo

30 October 2017 - 09:01:28
"The contrast between the dark shading of the man and the untouched white background highlights the gradually increasing isolation that comes with Alzheimer's disease."

Aoife McCanny

30 October 2017 - 19:47:29
"The simple layout of this piece perfectly conveys the loneliness that the older generation, particularly those with Alzheimer's disease face everyday. The figure appears to be far away which could demonstrate how difficult it can be to reach out and connect with a family member or friend with this disease as it often gets in the way of the relationship."

Anthony

04 November 2018 - 09:26:23
"Having visited a family member in an EMI home for 10 years now, this piece seemed particularly powerful and really highlights the struggles of someone suffering from Alzheimer's. The lack of colour in this piece could be symbolic of the 'grey areas,' or confusion that develops in people living with the disease, with a sense of the man 'fading away'. The lack of colour also conveys the sad nature of the disease. I think it's a clever way to present these ideas, and enables clinicians to truly understand the personal impacts of the disease and it's slow process of isolation, as opposed to simply recognising the scientific prognosis. The use of depth/distance in the piece also conveys the difficulty for those supporting a person with Alzheimer's to connect to the sufferer. "

Ashani Benning

04 November 2018 - 22:24:59
"I thought this piece was particularly striking and captured feelings and emotions that resonate with people who have Alzheimer's. The use of the blank space gives the illusion of the man in the drawing being far away which I took as alluding to the feelings of isolation and vulnerability that one with alzheimer's might feel. I particularly like the intricacy with the shading used to draw the man because it highlights the complexities of the illness that one might not be able to see physically but is very much prevalent mentally and emotionally. The minimalistic way that the artist has used the space really captures the lack of connection between patients with Alzheimers and the people around them."

Chloe

04 November 2018 - 09:11:22
"This particular piece really stood out to me due to its minimalist approach to such a complex disease. Compositionally, the use of blank space ironically engages the viewer who is forced to fill in the gaps of the elderly man and his story and his life. The use of pencil to record the man reflects his fragility and vulnerability and, for me, it highlights not just the disease but the other contributing social factors such as loneliness which only add to the difficulties of a person with Alzheimers. It subtly brings to life an issue that if not actively looked for can be easily overlooked. "

Ashani Benning

04 November 2018 - 22:25:04
"I thought this piece was particularly striking and captured feelings and emotions that resonate with people who have Alzheimer's. The use of the blank space gives the illusion of the man in the drawing being far away which I took as alluding to the feelings of isolation and vulnerability that one with alzheimer's might feel. I particularly like the intricacy with the shading used to draw the man because it highlights the complexities of the illness that one might not be able to see physically but is very much prevalent mentally and emotionally. The minimalistic way that the artist has used the space really captures the lack of connection between patients with Alzheimers and the people around them."

Anna Cairns

04 November 2018 - 22:12:39
"My grandma also has dementia and they drawing really had an impact on me. The facial expression really emphasised the suffering and the deterioration of the disease. I was struck by how well the drawing represented the isolation and seclusion of old age. The piece is quite simplistic and I think that's very effective; it shows how the patient's world drains of colour and light over the final years. "

Llew Lloyd

06 November 2018 - 09:19:36
"Before reading the reflection or the title of this piece, I could tell it was about Alzheimer's. I believe that this piece is a very accurate and interesting representation of this disease. If we were to look at this piece from the point of view of the individual, we can see it explores many different aspects of this person's experience. The fact that the man is in the drawing by himself and is in a white space shows that he feels isolated and lost whilst the lack of colour may indicate a loss of joy and identity. They may also feel that they are unable to reach out to anyone. The facial expression itself alludes to this in that he look as though his mind is elsewhere. As a viewer, we look at the man from society's perspective. We may see him as an old man and cannot see past his outer shell and illness. We can also look at the piece as a portrayal of the illness itself. The detail of the drawing shows how complicated the illness is. The fact that the piece itself could be considered to be quite basic allows the viewer to focus on the man himself."

Jordi Mathew

06 November 2018 - 09:24:57
"The use of space and blankness really emphasises the effect of loneliness that Alzhiemers really poses. The blank space reflects the loss of memory and the lack of help to recover those memories. Its very simple but very effective "