It is a beautiful autumn day. We are entering a newly refurbished Calverlands Day Care Centre. We will be working in the conservatory, full of light – outside, there are newly planted gardens. People are coming in. Mostly there are new faces, only one or two familiar from the last year. “What are we going to do?” everybody’s asking… Ah, they don’t know Bryony and me have been plotting all the sessions for month – there should be something for everybody!
The theme is “Rhythms of Life” and our first session deals with the seasons, sun equinox, autumnal colours…
We sing “You are My Sunshine”. They all know the words, the golden fabric on the table is vibrating with the voices. We bring Tibetan singing bowls, the ringing sound fills the space. The autumn harvest is placed on the tables – leaves, seeds, stalks, grasses… they are becoming collage material for pictures to take home, or hats or shadow puppets… The transformation has started!
Lavender’s Blue is our theme of the second week. We will be looking at the rhythm of the heart. We aim to stimulate all senses. The room is soon packed with people. We are singing, then smelling fresh lavender flowers, and afterwards we use various stamps to build the picture! This week we have visitors as well… dementia mapping woman, filmmaker, visitors…!!! But most people are enjoying different activities, even if some really didn’t like the smell of fresh lavender!!!!
We are stamping with vigour, making multiple patterns, building our pictures.
Next week’s themes are ebb and flow of tides.
We shall start with the movement with beautiful blue veils, singing “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean”.
We are introducing new musical instruments – Ocean drum and Tongue drum and we hope that the group likes them. As a visual activity we plan to do some laminated tissue shapes and glitter to make the artwork shimmer and to remind us of the sea! For our Italian lady we have prepared Italian song about the sea, as well as customary – O’sole mio!
Our plan is working. The whole group is excited with the activities and very proud of their work!
And then, at the end, people just start to reminisce. The tide of memories is coming to our shore. We hear a person speaking that have been silent throughout the three years since I’ve been coming to this centre. I am so overcome by the sound of her voice that I can scarcely move, rooted to the spot by unheard music. It is such a privilege!
Next week we should do some modelling, to give fingers some gentle exercise too!
But I am getting ahead! Firstly lets start with singing. The theme is growing and blooming. We sing Edelweiss as well as all our songs from the previous sessions.
Then we bring the instruments – the tongue drum and the bells are favourite. They sound is very beautiful and calming.
After the quick break we bring out the putty and start to make fantastic creatures not yet seen on this planet! And we talk and listen and learn about our lives. “I can’t believe I am eighty!” says Margaret! What a wealth of life stories and experience. We learn of Margaret’s travels to Alaska and Arnalda’s coming to England from Italy. Paul talks about his childhood in India…
But onwards, onwards – next week we’ll fly over the rainbow!!
“What are we doing today?” is the question that we are greeted with as we unpack numerous items!
Bryony is giving them clue about our theme with huge umbrella!
We are singing – Somewhere over the Rainbow, and laughing and asking for the copies of the text of this song that we love so much!
Then the projector comes out with the coloured gels and soon the world is even more colourful! There are rainbows everywhere, on the table,walls and in the kaleidoscopes we make but especially in hour hearts and minds!
The happiness is infectious and we are invigorated by this session!
The staff are enjoying kaleidoscopes too! We watch in wander how simple marks are transformed in no time into the magical patterns! Will we ever come down to Earth after this?!