A guest article by Emily Ebers, freelance activity worker
I was initially welcomed through the doors of Riversway to offer a new perspective on how we view psychological wellbeing and how it can be maintained.
In particular, to suggest new ideas and ways to create communication tools and activities for some residents that did not wish to engage in the current activity routine.
Dementia, as we know, does not manifest itself in the same way in each individual. The severity of damage to varying areas of the brain will reflect in speech communication and memory differently in each person.
We all appreciate engaging in different experiences, and this does not change just because we enter a residential setting. Coupled by the fact that different people will have differing cognitive abilities and psychological stimulation needs, it becomes particularly important to approach activities with an open and creative mind.
This is why it becomes so important to think outside the box when trying to incorporate meaningful activities into each resident’s day-to-day life. After talking with staff, it soon became apparent that some residents enjoyed just walking.
There is no reason why something that seems so simple, cannot be incorporated into a meaningful activity. By thinking outside the box, it became important to try and involve residents’ walking enjoyment into an engaging activity experience.
Jan Wilkins (Riverway’s general manager) and I decided that as it stood, the corridors were well decorated but not necessarily visually stimulating and beneficial for residents experiencing differing stages of dementia. The space did however, provide a canvas that could be turned into a visual and tactile sensory experience, for all those that use the hallways.
We decided that we would create a timeline across the walls. The timeline represents some of the most significant events in history.
The 1920s, often referred to as Jazz Age, saw the rise of a wonderful appreciation of dance, music and theatre. It was also a significant era for literature.
The 1940s offered many war time memories as well as many technological advancements in cars and aircraft. There are also a variety of nostalgic food brands still available in the shops today depicted in the art.
The last frame of the timeline will represent the here and now, depictions of events in the 21st century that will be remembered; the millennium, the royal family wedding and birth to name just a few.
Dementia can be an isolating experience, not only for the individual, but also family involved. Art is a great way of sharing a mutual appreciation for something, whether that be the art itself, or the story depicted within it.
For many I hope that it will provide memory triggers and conversation starters for anyone who enters the halls. As much as I enjoyed creating the art, I hope the same amount of enjoyment can be found from the finished product.
To view more photo's of Emily's wall art click HERE to be redirected to our Facebook page / Wall art photo album