Celebrity headshots jog memories in people with dementia

Silver screen stars have a new role: to help people with memory loss remember.

A collection of more than 40 autographed photos of 1940s film stars, including Rita Hayworth, Bette Davis and John Wayne are on display at Chelsea Place, an Anthem Memory Care Community, in Aurora, Colorado.

Jenni Seaman, life engagement director, told the Aurora Sentinel the photos bring back memories for residents, such as 90-year-old Ruth Updike.

“With Ruth seeing John Wayne, it was not just, ‘I remember a movie star,’” Seaman says. “It’s ‘I remember watching westerns with my husband on our ranch, and I remember riding my horse, and my horse’s name was Whiskey.’”

Ken Gustafson, executive chef and dietary director at Chelsea Place, brought in the photos for residents to see. His father-in-law co-owned and operated The Dream Theater in Russell, Kansas, for decades. When actors and actresses visited the theater, they they often left autographed headshots.

Topics: Alzheimer's/Dementia