Somedays are simply better than others! When the sun shines in the Low Country on a warm winters day, with temperatures hovering around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and our Club members smile and greet us (the Memory Matters Staff and Volunteers) around 10am at the start of the Connections Club day, you just know its going to be a good day!
I’d like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I’d like to hold it in my arms
And keep it company
As a regular volunteer in the Connections program I find it interesting and warmly rewarding to reflect on the morning greeting. Yes, we are greeting the Club Members but in a shift of roles I always see them greeting us. There is always an air of expectancy on this Thursday adventure and it bubbles over during the greeting session and convivial conversation that takes place over beverages, fresh fruit and cookies.
The word camaraderie comes easily to mind. The word is defined as “mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together”. Perfect!
So here is another typically exciting day which I will try and chronicle for you the reader. Remember, the Connections Club caters for those with mild cognitive memory impairment or early dementia diagnosis. We also welcome those who suffer Parkinson’s disease.
Cathee is one of our Memory Care Specialists and is responsible for organizing and leading the Connections Club programs on both Monday’s and Thursdays each week.
We started by asking the Club members to report back on what they had achieved in the last week to practice their organization skills. These reports included tax preparation, drawer cleaning and tidying, garage cleaning and in one case completing an extensive “to do” list the Club Member had constructed with his wife. This new 2017 practice of setting some ‘homework’ appears to be working since our friends are beginning to follow up really well and should be commended for the effort they are making to exercise their brains in between Connections Club classes.
Cathee then challenged us all (Club Members and Volunteers!) to resolve a question. A series of 15 statements all pointed to one single object. We had to determine what the object was. It transpired to be a “safety pin”. We were then challenged to think laterally as to what uses a safety pin could have, beyond babies diapers and replacing a button. Suffice to say that after ten minutes we collectively produced close to forty responses. If this sounds easy to you the reader just try coming up with more than forty answers and send them to me in the comment field of this blog. I would like to cross reference them with our Club Members responses.
Following this opening session there was time for our professionally led yoga class and the reading of some lovely poems and short essays by local elementary and middle school children. They all focussed on the beauty of flora and fauna of our amazing Port Royal Sound area. I would say we concluded that our local public schools are doing an outstanding job in educating the youth of today.
There was time for a few songs: “I’d like to teach the world to sing”, “You are my sunshine” and “Don’t let the sun catch you crying”. No-one was in the mood for crying on this sunny day!
After lunch we split into three groups and Cathee encouraged more lateral thinking. We were tasked with inventing the 51st State of the Union. As a minimum we had to choose a state flower, animal and flag. Finally we had to draw the state flag.
Well, this exercise turned into more fun than I would have ever imagined! Not content with flags, flowers and state animals we added: state mottos, birds, fish, industry, governing rules, Mayors and one King! It developed into a hilarious afternoon and I cannot possibly write down everything that was contributed, but when Cathee invited the three groups to present their new States she then sought to find reasons to join them into a mini country comprising the three states. That too was a great exercise and the answers were fast coming, thoughtful and insightful.
As I wrap this post I would like to give a “shout-out” to the volunteers from Wells Fargo bank who kindly gave of their time and actively contributed on this day. One of our Board Members (Chip Simons) kindly arranged this visit and I would like to suggest that if other businesses would like to get to know more about Memory Matters and give up a few hours of their employees time to observe this not-for-profit community business in action, then that would be hugely appreciated.
Please share this if you believe it would help someone. Call 1 843 842 6688 Memory Matters office for more information. It’s always confidential.