Why do we drive around the USA in an RV for these folks? We ask ourselves at times, can we do this another year? Can we keep going? Then, almost any time either of us questions our movement forward, we are emailed by an activities director saying, “Our residents loved you so much, they have been asking when you will be back! They love you both so much and are hoping you can add us to your tour in 2020!” We both can remember when we visited the smiling faces, last year.
Often when we first enter the room, activities directors are doing all they can to set up everyone into a circle. We know its not the way they usually do it but for Let’s Dance its an important piece of the program. In circles, everyone can see each other, and in this, we inspire connection and community. Bright Hawk sits in the center and can spin around as needed in case of people that might wander through. In our experience with communities that have many individuals that wander around, having a circle that is easy to walk in and out of increases the engagement of these sometimes hard to reach people and prevents agitation.
A community we visited, had experienced several deaths recently, which deeply impacts the community regardless of cognition. The community was chaotic and behaviors had emerged, a rough day for nurses. The activity director is doing her best to get everyone into a circle and the nurses are working hard to support her. The chaos and stress in the room show us that the community is really struggling on this day. We both take a moment to breathe deep into our own grounding.
As we start the program the community takes extra time to get settled in, several distractions interrupt the beginning. Yet, Bright Hawk keeps playing the instrument and you can sense a bubble of relaxed energy beginning to form. As Hollis goes around introducing themselves the residents are comforted by the familiar act of greeting, shaking hands, and eye contact. Hollis gives each person individual attention so they feel as included as possible. Hollis senses this practice comforts them because they smile and settle in to watch Bright Hawk in the center. As Hollis begins to dance with someone on the other side of the circle their moods are raised, most people smile when we watch others dance. We are reminded of connection and love, something we all need. The instrument in itself helps people feel happy and celebratory and the group normally experiences a lift in mood. As the dancing and connection begin to happen in the circle, people passing by must stop to see what is going on or what is that beautiful music? As the group grows in size the positive energy is increased and more people are singing. Often in these later moments, we will see people living with aphasia, singing with us, singing with the group, a simple word. Singing “Love” – over and over with both of us, and the entire group, encouraging each other. The room always changes after that song, like turning on the wake-up switch!
The rest of the program we move our bodies, we connect, we connect with each other. Even though we only come a couple of times a year we are rewarded at every Let’s Dance, just by the transformation that happens when we visit, with a deep sense of love & connection. Deeply we connect with 1000’s of individuals nationwide, and just like them, even if we don’t remember their name or when we visited last. We do remember the love & connection we all experience. An authentic community experience that feeds the souls of people living in long term care, memory care, and other nursing care communities. We are inspired to keep the journey going by the ones we can see smiling in our hearts! Help us find that perfect sponsor! Do you write grants? Want to help us? Reach out we NEED YOU!
Let’s Dance is booking most of the USA right now. In the Spring of 2020 including California, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado. Also, we are holding our 2nd Annual Nursing Care Communities – Dancing Across America event. We will begin in Reno, NV at the “National Association of Activity Professionals Conference” and ending in New England by the end of Nursing Care Week in May of 2020. We are dancing with communities across the USA and if you’re in our path we want to visit YOU! Check out our public calendar to arrange your visit now! We have visits posted in Western & Central Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Maryland and we will be back in Colorado in late July & August. Get your community booked now at our PUBLIC CALENDAR.