Through our PersonFirst® trainings, Action Pact has long promoted community circles as a tool for meaningful engagement with residents living with dementia. An open-ended question is posed to the group and each resident, sometimes with encouragement from staff, answers the question or comments on the topic. In this way, staff and residents get to know each other better and build community with the side benefit of gaining a better understanding about how best to serve the residents in their daily lives.
The residents of The Village Court, the memory support neighborhood of Asbury Place Maryville in Maryville, TN, recently took their “fun circle” (as they call it) in a creative direction.
“It was our first fun circle,” said April Overholt, Activity Assistant, “I asked them, ‘What does home mean to you?’ and they ran with it.” As residents began giving answers such as “love,” “security” and “family,” a few of the residents started making rhymes of their answers and soon, they had a poem. “It was all them,” April said. “I just wrote it all down.” And here it is:
By the residents of The Village Court
The smell of Momma’s biscuits takes our breath away, so we eat and sleep the morning away.
We clean the windows and mop the floors because we welcome friends with open doors.
Our home is full of family and love with children everywhere; laughter and happiness fills the air.
Safety and security is a must so this is where we learn to trust.
The poem was printed on the next month’s activity calendar. “The residents were so proud when they saw it up on the calendar,” said April. “They had ownership. There was so much joy on their faces.”
We are so pleased to hear this story as it proves the power of the community circle, not only in bringing people together, but in creating spontaneous activity and meaning for the elders involved.