MARCO ISLAND, Fla. — A Southwest Florida woman is using her love of art to help people with memory loss.
She does it through a series of workshops in Marco Island called Art4Alz.
"I wanted to marry my love of art with the fundraising mission and vision of the Alzheimer's Association," says Tammy DeCaro.
It's a passion that may only be rivaled by her desire to help others. DeCaro, in addition to being a talented and driven artist and teacher, is also Executive Director of the Barrington Terrace Assisted Living and Memory Care facility.
"All of the proceeds go towards our 'Longest Day' team, which raises money to help with research," she explains.
DeCaro has been involved in Alzheimer's awareness walks for the past 15 years. It was a natural choice to blend her two passions like she does colors of paint.
"For me, as an artist, it was an important cause. As a health care professional, I see the benefit of this every day with my residents, with my family member who has been diagnosed, and it has touched our family. I don't know anyone who it hasn't touched."
According to the Alzheimer's Association, more than 6 million Americans are living with the disease which robs people of their memory.
"When you look at the prevalence, 58 million people this year will have or know someone who has Alzheimer's - and that's only one type of dementia."
DeCaro says the act of creating art helps the bearer cope with their symptoms — providing a sense of relief and release.
The workshops provide that relief and let those affected know that help is available.
"We just need to get that message out there," said DeCaro. "There are great support groups available to both the person with Alzheimer's as well as the family. Ultimately, we can raise money for research and find a cure for this disease."