Coffee, Yoga and Creativity by Barbara Jehu, Certified Dementia Practitioner

Like Megan, I start my day with coffee and infuse it often, hot or cold, into my day.  Very good days also begin with Yoga.  One section of my favorite Yoga DVD is entitled “Creativity!”  Creativity, a quality Megan, Daneyelle and Anna exude & bring to the residents of The Masonic Home of Virginia. It is here that I have had the privilege to collaborate creatively with Healings Sounds RVA since its inception in 2009.  In our Memory Support Unit we serve residents with a multitude of dementias from the more familiar Alzheimer’s Disease to dementia caused by Lewy Body Disease, vascular dementias, and Parkinson’s Dementia, to name a few.  While each resident presents as a unique individual, their dementias also have unique characteristics; hence, the need for creative interventions.

Regardless of the cause, dementia gradually robs individuals of their memory, their ability to reason, to make good decisions, etc.  Obviously, it can quickly erode a person’s self-esteem.  However, we have learned that piecing together as many positive moments as possible enhances the residents’ quality of life.  Enter Healing Sounds.  Megan taught us long ago that music is resides in different parts of the brain.  If one loses the ability to process music in one area of their brain, the other area(s) step up.  Thus, people with dementia who appear to be unresponsive come alive when they hear music, especially music from their young adulthood, teen years or childhood.  That music still resides in their damaged brains. We have only to access it for them.  Please watch Megan’s video to see the magic begin.

Megan, Daneyelle & Anna take great care to get to know each resident so that their sessions offer both generalized and person centered care via a combination of group & 1:1 sessions. They work hard to bring the best possible programs to our residents, from group sessions incorporating small instruments, scarves for movement, exercise to familiar tunes, or cognitively challenging games like Music Bingo, Music Jeopardy, or Name That Tune.  They’ve introduced us to drum circles with structure & improvisation, which works amazingly well with our population.  They’ve conducted person centered 1:1 sessions with those who are unable to participate in groups or for those nearing end-of-life.  That is a sampling of what they do for residents.  Megan has also led our staff in Guided Imagery sessions to help decrease stress experienced by those in helping professions.  Obviously, we have yet to tap into all of their creative programs!  Time for coffee?

Barbara Jehu, CDP

The Masonic Home of Virginia