During the recent National Center for Creative Aging Leadership Exchange, I spoke with several inspired participants whose big takeaway was the confirmation that their community work was indeed using “best practices.”
A comment from a first time participant:
“I am so thrilled that our weekly musical sessions for a variety of senior groups is in line with what the top people are doing. We are going home knowing that our work is backed by research. Lots of new practice about our work was learned and knowing that NCCA will be there to support the work is invaluable.”
As a NCCA Board member, comments like this are critical, because encouraging and providing a forum for best practices for practitioners in the field is the key to realizing our mission, “…to fostering an understanding of the vital relationship between creative expression and healthy aging, and to developing programs that build upon this understanding.”
I was honored to participate in the National Endowment for The Arts Summit, the NCCA Leadership Exchange, and the Creative Caregiving Initiative. The NEA Summit kicked off the week by engaging leaders in the field of aging and the arts; the Summit will result in recommendations for Lifelong Learning, Arts and Wellness, and Community Design. A white paper will be developed for delivery to The White House Conference On Aging in July.
The structure of the Leadership Exchange (plenary and break out sessions for practice, research, and business) really informed all participants, those immersed in the field for many years and those new to the practice of creative aging. Of particular value
was demonstration that creative aging programs and practice require both evidence base research and a business model for sustainability over time. The 2016 Leadership Exchange will continue to provide community projects that demonstrate this sustainable model of practice, research, and business.
The Creative Caregiving Initiative Day held at The Kreeger Museum was a very emotional day because the launch of the Creative Caregiving Guide was realized after two years of collaborative work by national and local partners. Sitting in the audience with my partners (NCCA, artists, University of Central Florida, Share the Care, Winter Park Health Foundation), watching the video models of caregivers, artists, and families using the arts at home represents a vision I’ve had for fellow caregivers. Quality of life for caregivers is the goal and an effort I am honored to fund through The Pabst Charitable Foundation for the Arts. For all of us, we knew that moment at The Kreeger represented a milestone for caregivers around the world!
On June 9th, I will interview Gay Hannah, Executive Director of the Center for Creative Aging, about the aspects of the conference that caregivers should know about.
Margery Pabst is an author, facilitator, and caregiving expert for a number of organizations, including eCareDiary with whom she collaborates and hosts two caregiver radio shows, “Caregivers Speak” and “Caregiver and Physician Conversations.” Margie is also the President-Elect of the National Center for Creative Aging, and a member of the Advisory Council of the newly formed Dr. Phillips Florida Hospital School of Arts & Wellness. Find our more on her website, MyCaregiveringCoach.com.