Below is a post from Carly, a current student in Memory, Aging & Expressive Arts. She shares her experience with working with the University of Michigan Geriatrics Center Coffeehouse Members, which is a social program for persons with memory loss. ~ Anne Mondro, Professor of Memory, Aging & Expressive Arts
Hello, I am a sophomore studying art and design at the University of Michigan. Growing up, I always missed that warm, understanding, and wise grandfatherly figure that many of my friends raved about. However, this class allowed me the opportunity to develop relationships with the Coffeehouse members on a level that made me feel as though Silver Club is a place where all the lovely grandparents that I never had seem to congregate. I feel so lucky to have gotten the chance to meet so many diverse, steadfast, witty, lighthearted individuals, and I have learned much from them already, even in such a short amount of time. In addition, as I see many of the club members using humor, I am discovering how it is such a powerful tool to quickly evoke a happy moment of shared smiles in nearly any situation. The Coffeehouse members clearly know about the power of humor, as they love to laugh, and do it better than most.
Sharing and giving advice has been a major enlightening and fun part of the program. It is interesting to compare how people of different ages see the world and face challenges, and I feel as though I am learning as much from my Coffeehouse member as they are learning from me. As a group, the wide variety of projects we undertake together, ranging from abstract paintings to documentary photography, are both sophisticated and enriching to all involved. At every session, I am continually impressed by the inspiring lives, touching stories, and incredible resilience of the members, and feel blessed to be a part of this program.
Carly, Sophomore student at the University of Michigan