He glared at Hollis with flaring nostrils as if Hollis had just thrown salt on an old wound. “I don’t deserve to be part of that circle.” He said it with such discipline and sternness Hollis was almost taken aback but felt deep compassion for that man at the moment. Hollis is very well educated on gang tattoos, gang life and the general vibration of this community and has sometimes even contemplated working with prison populations. Hollis glared back with just as much passion, knowledge and sternness in their convictions and stated the truth.
As I squatted in front of her I begged for the answer, “What is the meaning of Life?” I looked her in her eyes and she said,
Some vibrations they could ‘hear’ in a different way, even ‘feel’ in a different way. The woman was clearly moved and Hollis continued to engage the group.
One of the first things that is affected by dementia is the ability to smell, and Margaret surely suffered in this way. The regular CNAs knew that it was best to catch her already in her room and then offer her the underclothing while she was on the toilet, otherwise she might just deck you. We knew it was best to suggest that she might want to use the bathroom and hope she could piece together your words.
Each time in the circle she would tear up when Bright Hawk would talk about Hawaii. When Hollis would lean in to invite her to dance, she would happily join in on the hula dance we do for the Hawaii story. She would smile big and each time she would say the same thing, “Ohhh I remember doing the hula with my husband on our honeymoon!”
Working with people in nursing care is challenging and when they also have dementia it can easily drain the energy reserves of even the most passionate nurse, activity director or direct caregiver. As a CNA, Certified Nursing Assistant, we are taught this in our training. I was aware that there was a potential to burn out as a CNA and as I moved from one…
Let’s Dance is not like any other entertainer that visits nursing centers, we not only entertain we comfort, we validate, and uplift the residents. So when you donate to our newest HUG campaign you help us send more HUGS to people in long term care. We all know how great a HUG can be.
So Hollis invited him to dance with their words and an outreached hand…. the first time he didn’t respond. The second time, he reached out and took Hollis’ hand and immediately gave loving soft eyes to Hollis. Eyes can speak so deeply and hold many truths, and when Hollis has discovered such a softness within a person, it’s hard to resist revisiting throughout the program.
Anyone that has worked with groups KNOWS that is more than half the group is feeling happy & joyous the rest of the group follows suit. This group had over 40 individuals excited to sing, dance, exercise, and listen to stories that warm the heart and inspire the soul. The group goes from chaotic and ‘just another day’ to smiling, hugging, and singing. Activity directors get excited when they see their group happily exercising together and are moved when they witness their transformation into happy & joyous folks.
Let’s Dance engages them in a profound way leaving them in a wake of hugs, exercise, big smiles, and uplifted moods. We engage people that haven’t engaged in months with music that opens up the heart and a lifetime caregiver that approaches residents one on one. Even cognitive communities love to have us visit because they know they are supporting our visits to their peers in memory care units.