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Dementia Alzheimers Neurology

Going beyond the medical center for patients with dementia

Published Date:

When it comes to neurological disorders like Alzheimer's disease, medication matters. But supporting your loved one with dementia requires more than just pharmacological interventions.

Our professional multidisciplinary team at the Dale and Deborah Smith Center for Alzheimer's Research and Treatment at SIU Medicine is proud to incorporate non-medical care that can improve overall health and enhance brain function for men and women living with Alzheimer’s. Our “Beyond the Medical Center” Programs offer additional support for our patients and their caregivers. 

Therapy through art, music, movement & more

When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, it's not just the patient who is affected. Center staff are always looking for ways to improve the quality of life for our patients with memory loss or dementia and for their family members. Our Beyond the Medical Center Programs offer additional therapy options to benefit those in need within our care region.

Leading evidence-based research supports that multidisciplinary interventions for people with memory loss are effective for improving the quality of life of patients and their caregivers. Families who have a loved one suffering from memory loss, Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia can participate in our extended care programs, including: 

  • Art express: Patients participate in creative expression in a stress-free and welcoming environment—without relying on memory or verbal skills. The Center for Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment’s Memory & Aging Clinic and the University of Illinois at Springfield host this program where patients create art projects.
  • Early stage memory loss group: Gain expert-level advice and information about memory loss, along with group support for caregivers and patients.
  • Minds in motion: With a focus on cognitive, physical and emotional health, Minds in Motion uses themed programs, brain games, light exercise, interaction and a communal meal to engage participants’ five senses.
  • Music and memory: iPods programmed with personalized music are used to improve mood, encourage physical activity and enable the listener to enjoy the present moment. It’s based on Dan Cohen’s not-for-profit project, Music & Memory ( 
  • Opening minds through art: This intergenerational art program for people with dementia is “failure-free.” It is aimed at promoting social engagement, autonomy and dignity through the experience of creative self-expression.
  • Stepping up: Get moving and improve your flexibility, strength, endurance and balance with customized exercises (and inspiring music) based on the Otago Exercise Program, an evidence-informed program shown to reduce fall risk in older adults.
  • What to expect when you’re not expecting to be a caregiver: Caregiver burnout is real. The University of Minnesota developed this support-group formatted program to avoid caregiver fatigue through skills and strategies that benefit both you and your loved one with memory loss or dementia.

Each of our programs are run by highly trained professionals who have decades of experience working with people affected by memory loss, Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. Many of our programs are free and feature a flexible class schedule that will help you and your loved ones make time in your busy lives. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) and other groups have verified these programs are effective lifestyle interventions that can benefit patients through social interaction, weight management, lifelong learning and physical activity. When provided in conjunction with a professionally supervised treatment plan, they can also help you and your loved one get to know other families like yours and discover cost-effective solutions for life with memory loss and Alzheimer's disease.

In the interest of community safety, SIU Medicine is also using telemedicine, social distancing and other best practices as needed to ensure our patients can access these beneficial services in the time of COVID-19.

To show your support the Center for Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment at SIU Medicine programs and research, visit

A holistic approach to Alzheimer's disease management lets your loved one live with less stress and more dignity. If you reside in the greater Springfield area, contact or call SIU Medicine at 217-545-8000 to connect with a provider near you and discover what happens when you and your clinical team go “Beyond the Medical Center.” 

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