The Connections program’s first session of the year for individuals with early stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s met in the Meadows Museum, in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association Memory Café, on Feb. 12, and will continue to meet over three more weeks in April.
The Connections program connects members, their families, and their care partners with each other and art.
During the session, participants had the opportunity to socialize with friends and families in a relaxed environment, and to later explore and engage in gallery activities, music, writing, and much more.
Kayle Patton, Education and Accessibility Coordinator for the museum, uses the museum’s current offerings to create enjoyable activities and works of art for the guests to bring them together as a community.
“Usually we do scavenger hunts, or writing activities like poetry, inspired by the art – something to get their juices flowing inspired by whatever’s on view,” Patton said. “And in Connections, like today’s session, there’s usually an art-making component. Today, we’ll be doing some soap carving inspired by wood carvings.”
The program benefits not only the participants, but also families and other care partners. Participants mingle with people who share a part of their experience, while care partners socialize with those who share their responsibilities. Many of the participants’ care partners expressed just how important the program is for self-assurance, community, and compassion for their loved ones.
Tech Guerrero, an SMU graduate whose 92-year-old mother is a participant in Connections, recognized many of these aspects of the program in his family’s experience as well.
“You become part of the community,” Guerrero said. “You give yourself the chance to continue becoming a frequent participant, you realize that this is a family and you get to know people who are in the same context, who are not always understood by the rest of the world.”
There are also intercession social events for the participants called Re-Connection, offering them a chance to visit with new friends and gain even more out of the valuable Connections program.
For more information, visit the Meadows Museum website.