It’s Saturday and mercury is racing up the thermometer, hitting 30 degrees. Vancouver is in holiday mood with buses full of people heading for the beach and Saturday farmers market in Bute St. where local residents are also selling off books, clothes and shoes on the sidewalk. Well I was on one of those buses heading north over the Lions Gate Bridge over Burrard Inlet and back to Ferry Building Gallery at Ambleside Landing where the Society for Arts in Dementia Care held two more presentations from experts.
First Jeanne Sommerfield, Creative Moments in Everyday Relationship, gave us a brilliant overview of her approach using poetry, art, conversation, drama, encouraging expression of thought, giving back to individuals with dementia their sense of self. Then Michael Berg involved us all in a practical session of improv and physical activities which he uses regularly with older people with dementia in an assisted living facility, enabling vitality.
Isn’t this what we want for all of us? We live in a society of ‘them’ and ‘us’ but one day soon we will be one of them . When we look back through history and cringe over our paternalistic attitudes to people of different ethnicity or physical ability or gender, it seems a bit shocking that we still perpetuate an attitude that strips people with dementia of any individuality. Words and art from the exhibition say it all above.
Tomorrow I’m off to Victoria, Vancouver Island via ferry and three more days in beautiful, watery, friendly Canada.