PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Artists often go through various stages in their lifetime of a creative process. Shirley Hood Loeffler is in a new stage as a painter.
"If it's pretty, and there's so much that is pretty in Florida to paint, i just enjoy doing it," she said.
The paintings capture moments of South Florida landscapes between trees so realistic it's easy to picture the breeze rustling through them.
"My mom does beautiful clouds, looking at some right there," said Loeffler's daughter, Terri Abramson.
The paintings line her walls, with her neatly crafted signature painted in the corner of each one.
"Since I could hold a crayon, it was something I could do," Loeffler said.
Abramson says her mother has always had a gift of grace as a mother and as a prolific artist. She takes difficult challenges and makes them beautiful and good. There are, however, some steps in life that are tougher to take with grace. Loeffler lives with dementia at Tequesta Terrace Assisted Living.
"It's hard not understanding why, more so what, my mother may be thinking at times, and not knowing what to say or what to do. I think that intimately is the hardest part," Abramson said.
While the memories she once so delicately captured aren't always so clear anymore, Loeffler is painting again, alongside her neighbors. It's part of her memory therapy. Her daughter believes Loeffler captures her freedom again in the brushstrokes.
"You just see this sense of peace," she said.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, about a half-million people in Florida live with Alzheimer and other dementia, and more than a million people serve as their caregivers.