Activities. The word makes me think of things people don’t really want to do, but are coaxed into. The word seems a cold categorization of things that keep us busy and not thinking about other things…things that we might not have anymore.
I’m neck deep in thinking about “activities” now as I prepare for the Center on Age & Community’s (which I direct) Next Step Think Tank.
This year, we’re gathering leaders in the arts, education, aging services, and media and technology, as well as students and family caregivers to think about “How can we radically transform activities in long term care?”
Over the two days, we aim to 1) describe what we’d like activities to be like – for those living in individual homes or in group settings; 2) enchant or enliven a dozen or more “recommended” activities according to our own description of what activities should be like; 3) identify why activities aren’t working or aren’t accessible now; 4) imagine ways to help them work.
And dare we imagine a better word than “Activity?”
Our first question for the day on May the 14th will be…”what is the meaning of meaningful?”
We commonly hear that activities should be “meaningful.” But just what does that mean?
The opening event for the Think Tank is Cherry Picking Apple Blossom Time, David Greenberger and the Paul Cebar Stage Ensemble’s performance of songs inspired by conversations with people with memory loss at the gorgeous Pabst Theater in Milwaukee. I’m struck by the timing – such a powerful, empowering message for people with dementia coming the night after the HBO Alzheimer’s Project.
Imagine an “activity” in a nursing home being collaborating with an artist to create a collage of songs that will be made into a cd and then performed in your community at the most beautiful venue in town?