Painting in Twilight
By Dale Short
When Lester Potts began succumbing to Alzheimer's disease at age 70, the changes in his demeanor hit his family "like a cyclone," his son Daniel recalls. In some ways the situation was especially hard on the younger Potts because he is a neurologist, and he blamed himself for not spotting the disease sooner: "I thought myself a poor excuse for a dementia doctor and inadequate as a son."
Lester's condition worsened until finally he couldn't safely stay at home. Fortunately, the family found an opening at a nearby adult daycare center, and Lester felt comfortable there-one of the few bright spots in a harrowing decline. Then a volunteer art teacher encouraged Lester to try painting with watercolors. He began bringing home dozens of still lifes, landscapes, pictures of flowers, birds, and holiday scenes-painted in bright colors that were sometimes more vibrant than his real-life subjects.