#39 There are a million ways to do this work

IMG_3570PIZZA. I’ve eaten so much pizza during this trip.

I will say that a freshly cooked pizza always adds a little excitement to meetings.

I met with three brilliant people in New Rochelle, New York one lunchtime to eat, yup, a margherita pizza and chat through the work of Lifetime Arts. Ed Friedman and Maura O’Malley set up the organisation to encourage people to think about ageing as a time for creativity and positive growth.

Lifetime Arts runs arts programmes for older independent adults. Promoting active, in-depth learning for seniors, as opposed to routine, passive entertainment, is their vision.

Ed says there are a million right ways for artists to work with older people. But there are core principles to adhere too: keeping a sense of humour, and always assuming ability.

We talked about Lifetime Arts’ online roster of 150 teaching artists. Each artist has to submit a profile, a resume and a sample curriculum for an instructional series of classes aimed at older adults. Lifetime Arts then works with applicants to ensure they meet the high standards required. The result is a nationwide searchable database of professional artists qualified to work with elders. It’s a great idea.

Hmm, I’m not aware of anything similar in the UK. Does anyone know if such a database exists? Or, should we think about creating one?

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