Sweet Fanny Adams hosts memory-impaired patients

Aug. 12, 2014 @ 06:05 PM

For Alzheimer's and dementia patients, sometimes there's no medicine quite like laughter.

Tuesday afternoon, Sweet Fanny Adams Theater in Gatlinburg opened for a rare afternoon matinee performance to provide some humor for a group of day-tripping seniors from Clarity Pointe Knoxville, a memory-care assisted living facility.

"Things went really good," said Laurence Evans, the husband of Jennifer MacPherson-Evans, whose family founded and still runs the Gatlinburg landmark theater.

Evans is currently attending school at the University of Tennessee and is studying sports and recreation management with a concentration in therapeutic recreation. He's interning at Clarity Pointe and had the epiphany of bringing the patients to see the theater's 1890s-style vaudeville show.

"The goal of this really, was just to make them laugh," he said. "The style of our theater is well-suited for them.

"It was kind of a special event, and it was really fun to have the seniors from Clarity Point out there," he continued.

"It went really well, they loved the show and it was fun to see them all laughing and smiling at the end."

Evans is finishing up a 14-week internship at Clarity Pointe, which he said offers a new type of treatment for patients struggling with memory-related illness.

"This is a new style of treatment or care; it's much more of a home environment, not such a sterile environment," he said. "It's a community consiting of three neighborhoods."

The residents make day-trips to farmers markets, nursery shops and other destinations, but Tuesday's outing was "by far the biggest they've ever attempted," Evans said.

"We went into the national park first ... to Metcalf Bottoms and met up with a ranger (Caitlin Worth)," he continued. "She came by and gave us a tour; and we had a picnic lunch. They had a really good time."