Imagine realizing you have hidden artistic talent at a time of life when you thought you were no longer growing and learning. This is the chance participants in the Center 50+ Among Friends and Time with Friends respite programs have each year when they paint artwork for the "Art from the Heart Show."
This year's show theme is "Food for Thought" and is from 4 to 6 p.m. on December 3, at Center 50+. Art from the show will be displayed at Center 50+ through December.
"They paint some type of food item, desserts or fruits and vegetables, and discuss the food," Respite Coordinator Lela Weeks said. "We discuss about the fruits and vegetables and why they painted them, or why they may not want to paint them."
Food can awaken wonderful memories and feelings. Visitors will be able to seen not only the talents of the participants, but also the clever stories behind the art they have created.
The art show was conceived by Lela and Respite volunteer Linda Schellenberg. Each year around April they brainstorm ideas for the show's theme.
Professional painter Linda Osborn donates her time, talents and supplies to lead respite participants in painting their pictures.
"A lot of the time, people who are seen as having dementia are not seen as individuals," Lela said. "When they are painting a picture, it's an individual thing. It's a way of expressing themselves positively."
The December 3 reception is an opportunity from friends and caregivers to gather, enjoy refreshments and entertainment provided by a piano player. It's also an opportunity to donate to the Respite programs, or purchase postcard reproductions of the artists' work.
About the respite care
Center 50+ offers two respite programs.
Time with Friends is a social program for adults with mild memory loss, in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's Disease or dementia.
Among Friends is an adult day respite program that provides a caring, supportive and safe environment for participants with mild to moderate dementia.
"It's a break for caregivers," Lela said. "They can drop off their loved ones and know they are in a good, structured place where they can be safe."
This gives the caregiver time to run errands or just get some personal time to recharge. Before people join the program, Lela schedules a home visit with the family.
"I get to know them. They get to know me. It's a big deal to have people care for your family member," Lela said.
Time with Friends is every Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at $25 per session.
Among Friends is Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at $50 per day.
Participation is flexible depending on the needs of the caregiver, Lela said.
The programs are covered by Medicaid, but not Medicare. Center 50+ also has some community resources that provide scholarships.
"We don't want the hardship for folks to be the financial piece," Lela said.