In Giving We Receive

In Anne Bastings novel, she states, “Relationships with a person with dementia are reciprocal.” I experienced this concept first hand, working with my community member, a former art teacher. Ignorantly, I came into this course, “Memory, Aging and Expressive Arts” thinking that I would be the one to offer something, some kind of insight to my community member. This was true – at least being able to offer “something” was – at the surface level. My fellow classmate and I provided the art supplies each week, but it was our community member who provided the creative tools, insight and expertise to take our art projects where she wanted it to go. Although she relied on cueing – looking at our nametags – to call us by name, she did not need any assistance being creative. Whereas the logical side of her brain was fading, it was evident that the creative part was in full bloom. She fell into her role as educator and art teacher very naturally, offering endless encouragement and praise. This experience is something I will always remember. I believe my community member summed it up best when she said, “We can learn from each other. We each have something to offer, if the other is willing to receive.”

~Amy, Master of Social Work Candidate 2014


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