At 96 years old, LuWayne Younghan’s favorite things are simple pleasures, like sitting outside and being able to observe the changing sky. And her talent enables her to paint much of what she sees.
A graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute, LuWayne has lived a rewarding life as a fine artist, a fashion designer and ultimately taking her talents into interior design.
Due to the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease, much of LuWayne’s cognitive ability has diminished. But her love of art and appreciation of the natural beauty of the world around her remains intact.
Today her paintings of clouds cover the walls of her suite at Morningside Place Memory Care community in Overland Park, Kansas. And her daughter, Cindy Kuntz can often be found by her side. Cindy understands her mother’s fascination with cloud formations and encourages her to observe and talk about them.
Cindy was recently interviewed by KSHB-TV as part of a story they were doing on the groundbreaking work being conducted at Kansas City’s Stowers Institute. Their most recent breakthrough has been in identifying potential ways of breaking down the proteins that form the amyloids that lead to Huntington’s disease. Their belief is that, by discovering how to stop the amyloid from forming, it could lead to cures for other diseases such as Alzheimer’s and ALS.
You can watch the full KSHB-TV coverage and interview which shows some of LuWayne’s paintings here:
Cindy Kuntz and other families of Morningside Place residents are proud of the work being done right in their backyard at Stowers. And, while a cure for Alzheimer's likely won't come in time to help LuWayne, they hold great hope for others who, if diagnosed early, may be able to benefit from new treatments.
In the meantime, Cindy shared some advice for family caregivers, “Don’t do it by yourself. Caregivers, you have to give yourself grace. I think that’s one of the most important things is, that there will be times when you question what’s going on, and your relationship has changed, but I’m still her daughter and she’s still my mother and we need to keep that context in the way it always be.”
(The header image shows LuWayne with her daughter, Cindy Kuntz on the left at Morningside Place.}