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One-third of older Americans die with dementia, a condition that causes a decline in mental ability that interferes with daily activities. Alzheimer's disease is the leading cause, responsible for 60–80% of cases.
For older people whose social networks are dwindling, arts and culture give opportunities to keep socially, civically, and mentally active in their communities. The arts provide a symbolic and emotionally expressive communication system for elders with cognitive limitations, allowing them to engage with their care partners and the larger community.