Our Saturday, 4/21, Memory Café in the Garden® hosted six participants, five volunteers, and one staff member. Four of the participants were from the L’Arche Community in Haverhill, Dan (staff/driver), Debbie, Ryan, and Donald. Two participants were Topsfield residents, Gloria and Bizzy. The volunteers included Sue, Bonnie, and Penny from the Topsfield Council on Aging, and Joan and Maggie Chiffer, a Topsfield mom and daughter (a high-school student, creator and facilitator of the program “Dance out Dementia“). Topsfield Cultural Council funded the Sun Hat Making activity for our March indoor Memory Café at River Road, which was cancelled due to snow, and rescheduled for our Saturday Memory Café in the Garden®. Raquel helped me as a Program Assistant to set-up, break-down, and provide general assistance during the event.
As guests arrive to our Memory Café in the Garden®, they are able to choose from a few options:
- Enjoy the gardens/picnic
- Enjoy Bird Tales (bird observation & play)
- Enjoy Fish Tales (fish observation & play)
- Enjoy Drums & Dance (music and movement)
- Enjoy Flower Fun (craft)
Bonnie assisted at the “Flower Fun” area. She helped Debbie make a very stylish hat featuring silk flowers and craft butterflies.
When I asked Gloria if she and Bizzy would like to make sun hats (wide-brim hats and ball caps were available to decorate with paint and silk flowers), she suggested another option when she saw at Karl in the distance, working in the garden. “I think Bizzy would enjoy helping Karl with the garden.” Bizzy chose to help Karl and me with garden chores, including dressing garden beds with compost and filling bird feeders.
Maggie and Joan Chiffer started playing around at the “Drums and Dance” area – Dan, Debbie and Bonnie noticed, and decided to walk over and join. What started as play with percussive instruments, became body percussion and dance moves with song, and finished many minutes later with ribbon wands up, down, and around. This activity was enjoyed by the majority of the group for the majority of the time.
Towards the end of the program, having had the breeze blow the sun hat off Debbie’s head, Bonnie suggested she bring the hat back next time to add a tying ribbon. As she climbed back into the van to depart, Debbie expressed, “I love leaving our home to come here for a fun time!”
At our Sunday Stroll program, 4/22, Earth Day, we hosted one volunteer, Marlene, three participants from a NE ARC Group home in Danvers, Fatoumata (staff/driver), Gary and David, and one local Topsfield resident and friend, Darcy Fulton, also a landscape designer. Darcy stopped in to see what was new. Fatoumata assisted Gary (wheelchair-assistance) and David (walking) in getting around and experiencing the garden’s highlights. During their visit, we learned more about non-verbal communication through a communication book Gary shared with us. Gary gave me and Karl two sticks of Juicy Fruit gum, which we enjoyed. Fatoumata was surprised we didn’t have plants for sale, to take home. She suggested this would be nice for the future.
The horticultural event of the weekend was witnessing our first standard-size yellow trumpet daffodils open-up. Crocuses are still blooming, along with Ornithogalum balansae.
Moving forward with a listening heart,
vision, inquiry, and action,