“Honey, you’ve got your Kindergarten in my Assisted Living!”

By CiminoCare

Administrator husband, John Eby, RN, and his Kindergarten teacher wife, Nicole Eby, had their worlds collide for an intergenerational art expression day at an Assisted Living residence for seniors.

“What makes you happy?” Was the theme of the March 3rd intergenerational Art Expression Day at CiminoCare’s Citrus Heights Terrace. On this day, 17 students, grades Kindergarten to 2nd grade from Orangevale SDA School, converged upon this Assisted Living residence for the memory impaired.

The ensuing energy collision culminated in the creative expression of color. For the event, students sat around tables with residents and created art that was then later put together in one large collage to be displayed for residents and visitors.

As much of the Assisted Living sector is trending, CiminoCare is embracing a philosophy that Life Enrichment –programs for the seniors to consume their daytime hours and keep them integrated with the larger surrounding community— should be the centerpiece of any senior residence, especially those who have residents with memory loss. Down deep inside of each person, this philosophy espouses, is still a human being worthy of maximum expression in art, beauty and existence. Just because a person is aged or frail, or even suffers from chronic diseases, doesn’t mean they can’t live their life with profound enrichment and meaning.

It was, therefore, intentional that fine pastels and art-quality paper were used. “Using high quality oil pastels and professional mixed media paper gives all of the participants a sense of dignity and value. The students and seniors alike are dignified by using mature creative tools that exemplify importance and integrity of their work,” says Tiffany Paige, Director of ARTZ Delivers, who facilitated the event and others like it throughout the region.

Students were asked to share with the group what made them happy: “Christmas!” The first student offered, “and presents.” Other happy things included summertime, family, Valentine’s Day and birthdays.

“Life, Love, and Laughter! What a wonderful pleasure experiencing our residents brighten up when the school children arrived to make colorful art projects,” says Desiree Gallaher, Life Enrichment Director of Citrus Heights Terrace.

“We were like flowers to them, because we smiled at them,” says Jacob, one of the 2nd grade students involved in the art day.

“In working with intergenerational programs, we get to bring art to life and see the inspiration of creative expression, regardless of age or life experience. All ages have the opportunity to learn from each other and bond in an inclusive atmosphere that fosters relationships as it joins the generations,” says Paige.

For more information on CiminoCare www.ciminocare.com

For more information on ARTZ www.ArtzAlz.org

Mark J. Cimino can be reached at mark@ciminocare.com

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