As part of Memory, Aging & Expressive Arts, students are paired with Coffeehouse club members to explore, create, and share together. The Coffeehouse club is one of the U-M Geriatric Centers Mild Memory Loss Programs in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and serves people in Ann Arbor and surrounding communities. Below is a student reflection on the course and a recent visit to the University of Michigan Museum of Art, one of the many activities planned for the students and Coffeehouse members to enjoy together.
Hello, I am an art student interested in the effect of aging and mental cognition. I come from a military background before coming to the University of Michigan. My interest in this program was to explore successful processes in dealing with the challenges of the disease and to be surrounded by strong experienced people. I also have an underlying hope that there may be an opportunity to share these skills and techniques with people with PTSD and vice versa.
Either case I am a strong believer in interactive support and find myself at constant surprise engaging with the Coffeehouse Members. We had a great opportunity to engage with members privately during our trip at the museum. I was surprise at the level of speed and intensity that my Coffeehouse member was operating at. I knew he was energetic and went out on runs. Once we where divided into teams, it was a bit difficult to unify everyone’s suggestions. My Coffeehouse member was already showing display of eagerness to go and took the initiative to start without us. So I just followed him, and doing so I discovered my misjudgment of his physical ability. He would run off from station to station. Once I got caught up we talked for a short while about the artwork. It was refreshing to find someone so knowledgeable and passionate about the artwork as I. The next day I was mentally sore from the information overload given by my member as well as physically sore just trying to keep up with him.