Thursday, 16 April 2015

Dementia & Imagination: Sharing Event at Cranlea

Sharing events are the culmination of twelve weeks of engagement between the intervention artists and care home residents.  It's a lovely session, bringing together all the work that the group have completed to share and celebrate.

The sharing is open to any resident in the care home, and as luck would have it for this event a group of local primary school children arrived just as we were sat down to watch the film. It really was perfect timing, they came in with their teacher and sat on the floor. They had written their own newspaper and were delivering copies around the neighbourhood, which they gave out to the residents and staff after watching our film.

In the usual style, a creative drawing session also took place and some of the residents were keen to get involved. A gentleman in his 90's got to the floor, physically strong and able to get down and up on his own, although he was given help. He prepared to draw around Holly, who was lying on the floor on top of a huge sheet of paper. The group had done this before, there were works around the room showing this, displays of creative activity undertaken which don't quite portray the fun and hilarity that is part of any and every session that I have been part of,

I notice his hand tremors, and his determination to have a go.

I notice his voice raise and his body stiffen with frustration as he tries to make a point, something is really important and he cannot make himself understood.  There's an awkwardness, a silence and noise - people trying to help and realising they may be making the situation worse and not better,

I notice the awkwardness of us all, equally aware, equally keen to help, equally unable to improve the situation, time seems to slow to an imperceptible pace, time hangs suspended for what feels like forever.

I notice the laughter from a corner, another conversation has been continuing and the level of sound increases to fill the awkwardness I feel.  Sensitivities mould our frame, our thoughts and voices and I wonder on reflection how much it's just me that feels this.

The event is a great success, by all accounts - people are smiling, there's more laughter, chatter and banter exuding from the room.

At such an end point there's one last surprise, something I hadn't expected at all; a resident stood to address the room, strong and clear her voice calm and thoughtful - she stood to say thank you to everyone who had been involved. It was a lovely moment I hadn't expected and such a pleasure to hear.


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