In the third in a story series about the first year of the ARTZ in the Neighborhood program in Hunting Park, we examine what feels so right about the question
— In last month’s newsletter, I shared some of our team’s early conversations about the need for specificity and inclusion when we’re talking about quality of life for people living with dementia and their loved ones. “¿Qué te trae alegría?” or, “What gives you joy?” gets at the core of that mission to offer individualized and inclusive programs. That question has been powering our conversations with community advisory group members in Hunting Park. We’ve so enjoyed following that question through to some of its colorful, celebratory ends:
I have a running list of “joymakers” that have come from our conversations. Things like gardening, music, grandchildren! Dominoes, dancing. Opportunities to get dressed up and do something different. Cooking and sharing family favorite recipes– pecan cake, cole slaw, stuffing at Thanksgiving dinner. We first imagined together what fun events could come from some of those joymakers, and then group members brought a friend and we got together to decorate hats– with silk flowers and ribbon. A few weeks later, we wore those hats to a big tea party for seniors at Esperanza Health Center. As a group, we reflected on how much fun both events had been, and began to plan a few more for the fall.
Asking “what gives you joy?” leaves so much room for conversation. We’ve been meeting with Hunting Park advisory group members for a year now, and we still love starting with that question. Over the past year, we made a flip book to guide folks through a conversation with their friends, neighbors, and families about joy, connection and memory loss. Their feedback will direct future programs in Hunting Park, and we are so excited for the next step.
To read more from this series about some of the people and stories behind “ARTZ in the Neighborhood,” you can view the first two stories in our monthly newsletters here and here.