Hello everyone and everything today! Yes yes, just say YES. Whatever is good for your soul… DO THAT!
After spending days with those of Virginia, those Activity Directors from all over the state, listening to their stories, their passion, their thirst of new ideas to take back to their facilities and their residents I have reflected on times spent and each person I was honored to talk a bit more with. I was remembering the different sessions; those on Dementia (I have forgotten the details on that one though), I was laughing when remembering the “Dancing with The Stars” session and the on step and off of its participants and the things of course I would have wanted to see or do had I been facilitating that particular session! Always thinking, always wondering, and that session in particular got my creative juices flowing. Oh how I enjoyed the energy and my grin was so strong that at one point I could tell my face was getting numb.
I only imagined the joys that residents would experience when hearing the sounds, when being approached with an extended hand to once again dance like there was no tomorrow. I have visualized the approaches it may take to bring one from the safety of their room, or perhaps the loneliness and into the social areas. It may take some talking, yet the benefits of engagement, of socialization outweigh the work and the “talking into” that may take place in the beginning.
Yet the possibilites are so grand that the empty chair you see in the photo is a great place to sit and visit while a gentle touch to the arm may just do the trick of encouraging one from their comfort zone and into the world of music and dance with another. These are all the human connections as music speaks to the soul, the heart beat of the Universal connection that is as old as time… from sitting quietly and so still, the energy can and most often will allow for flow, the beat, the feet tap and hands or fingers moving, the eyes to brighten and once again to be taken to a time where chairs, walkers were not needed in life now with limitations.
Activity Directors can work magic, in professional ways while training and encouraging volunteers to get on board the music bus… Encouraging them to dress out and show up colorfully and united as one in the presence of support and compassion as they move the energy of oneness into togetherness for joined time of music and dance or stretching with accommodations into a blast of the past. Oh yes, that is the power of that profession; creativity and the ability to join together with colleagues and community while training volunteers; the more the more magnificent in engaging residents and families for socialization and stimulation.
Imagine coming into a common are or community room and being greeted by these beautiful ladies with smiles, color and ready to dance and laugh? Talk about a joyous time facilitated by those Awesome Activity Directors, now that is one that will be remembered and sought after often. One that will be treasured by residents, by families and by colleagues as good times shared while memories are made, while state surveyors look on with pride and acknowledge best practice and innovative care.
Most towns and communities have dance instructors, dance classes, Zumba classes… most would gladly volunteer to come and show off their skills while teaching staff and volunteers ways to enhance care and touch with residents to safely participate in dance and movement safely while having fun! The only limitations are our imaginations in the ability to stretch, to move, to bolster another in their view of self.
Some residents may just surprise everyone at the ability to raise those arms and legs while others will be just as happy to watch or clap their hands during such grand times! Oh yes, I can see it now, cuz Angie with her zumba on, or getting Kamryn up there doing the Harlem Shake and involving the folks of the Pulaski Rehab gangnam style with a bit of new style in his fly moves as they are entertained… the possibilities of making folks smile and sway to the music are endless. Hampton Roads Activity Directors are probably busy with getting the Harlem Shake going so that it is perfected by the time they host the next VAAP conference and I can only imagine they will have residents on you tube before too long as well!
Then you just never know; they could all sit in circles with colorful pieces of fabrics and use them to wave to the music, pass them to each other and move them in unison as the music plays… emotion is motion, it is fluid and colorful and it is healing from within. It involves the brain, the body, the soul, the heart, creativity at its finest that comes alive no matter the abilities or the “thoughts” of the helping professional. Music speaks to the soul and it feels good. It does not matter how others see you… It is how you see yourself that means everything, and that is enhanced when you take the time to roll or walk someone out of their moment and into the music of others and themselves in a positive and healing light…
Activity Directors up in Virginia are doing that in remarkable ways; they are now back at their facilities and even more refreshed and ready to try and do new things after attending the VAAP CONFERENCE…
Folks better get ready to roll in Virginia cos’ there are some fierce professionals out there who are recruiting volunteers, engaging their multidisciplinary teams and ready to get busy with activities and compassion like you have never seen!
Let the music move you, the passion take you to places you have never known and the energy fill your senses… This is a day that is yours; to fill you up with sun, to play in the snow, to be all that you desire… step up, step out, keep walking or keep rolling.
STRETCH… and let’s get this party started!
Walk in beauty,
- THE VAAP in Virginia; Activities Directors gathered (drses.wordpress.com)