Our Elders enjoy some Open Access Arts

Jeanette and Amanda from Open Access Arts have worked with a specific group of our Elders over the last 6 weeks.

As Jeanette says in her own words, “The very best feedback we can give you, in many ways, is our wonderful short film (3 minutes), showing a snapshot of our time at KLS. I am most struck, when I watch it, by the sheer joy of it all, and of course, whilst it may just looks like glitter and fun, there is so much more to it than that.”

Watch the short film here:

Jeanette continues, “This is a group that obviously flourishes with consistency and familiarly and each week we were able to build upon our ever-developing relationships.

We do feel, in many ways, we had just set sail.

Lily for example, who would often arrive early, would at first sit outside the room and wait for the others to arrive, not confident or assured enough to come in on her own. As the weeks progressed, and our relationship developed, she was skipping into the room, as soon as she arrived.

We saw others flourish in their own way.

George, who is a great conversationalist and a fascinating person, with a terrifically interesting life story, found some quieter contemplation, when focused with purpose and guidance on a particular project: colouring for example, being something he “had enjoyed as a child”. We focused some of these activities around his incredible knowledge in horticulture and his time working in that field.

Andria and her carer, Andrea, were both important and valued members in the group and there was a developing sense of understanding and sharing with each other, during their time with us.

Everyone tried a new activity, stimulating cognitive agility and engagement in the, here and now. Frances spent most of her time, in glorious laughter.

The balloons game, at the start of each session and beautifully captured in the movie, may seem on the surface, just a few balloons and a bit of fun. However, this wonderful game is used to stimulate blood flow, works with motor neurone skills, promotes engagement and concentration and is accessible to those with limited mobility. I know, it just looks like fun!

Just a few examples of how both, individual and collective relationships were enriched. Everyone was invested in the group.

So, looking to the future, as a possible follow on, we do feel now, that the Elders group still has so much room for growth and exploration. Some of our onward journey, possibly moving towards individuals/the group doing their own sharing, given time to fully encourage, support and develop this, as an option for some of the attendees.

We would hope to work with, both those we now know and hopefully some new people to our group. Working with a group, the majority of whom have a dementia diagnoses, as you will know, is both intensive and measured and takes time to flourish.”

A very big thank you to Jeanette and Amanda from Open Access Arts and funding from the Belpech Trust.

We will let you know what happens next.

And finally, a poem was written from all the feedback collected over the 6 weeks:

You learn a lot from those with the most experience.
Are you girls here next week?
Memories of old times
Laughing and being taught new games
So much potential!
Diamond Atmosphere
Creative spaces, happy faces
Fun this morning
I don’t like the balloons- ‘sign it Mary’
I love the balloons and also love the cakes!
Most enjoyable!
Best day ever!
Just good – entertaining!
There is something for everyone
I like the chat
I’m going to miss you girls
I love coming here
We felt like a group
I think there was magic in the room today
There was fun and games and so many laughs
Great choices – great activities
I added to the collage
And I did too, I’ve got glitter everywhere
I added a leaf to my embroidery
I carried on with my sunflowers
We will miss you, you get used to people, then they leave
So pleased to have a new group
Lots of activities or just chat
Escaping the four walls
You have done a brilliant job,
I look forward to coming here on a Wednesday
I love glitter

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