Today was probably my most rewarding day yet at the Elderberry Club.
The Elderberry partner that I work with is not far along in her prognosis; therefore we are able to maintain good conversation throughout the time we spend together, and she discusses what she knows will be coming in the near future. We have fun conversations as well as very real ones. My Elderberry partner normally remembers much of what we discussed the previous week, however she doesn’t always remember much of the artwork we did. The main thing my partner does remember is the positive experience of spending time together.
Today we worked on a piece of art, but spent most of the time discussing our families, life experiences, and what comes next for me after college. However, for the first time at the end of our meeting, my Elderberry partner expressed to me her gratitude and love for the program we are a part of. She discussed how Tuesday afternoons have been the high light of her past few months, and was so upset that we don’t meet more often and that our collaboration will soon be ending. She expressed how being creative and talking with me kept her mind off of the disease, and brought a lot of joy to her life. She also expressed how earlier today the group listened to music from her youth, and that it made her feel so calm, relaxed, and happy for the first time in a while. In class, we have done many readings about the positive effects the arts have on patients with dementia, but to hear it first hand was a remarkable and enlightening experience. It also inspired me to continue this kind of work in the future.
– Samantha, UM Art & Design and History of Art student