Grants Fund Opening Minds through Art at Harmar Place

MARIETTA, Ohio – Harmar Place, a United Church Homes community, will continue its Opening Minds through Art program for residents living with dementia thanks to two grants from the local community

The grants, totaling $2,050, came from the Marietta Welfare League and the Binkley Charitable Fund, a fund of the Marietta Community Foundation. Funding will pay for art supplies for the program.

“We are thankful to both the Marietta Welfare League and the Binkley Charitable Fund for their support of our OMA program,” Harmar Place Administrator Sue Boulton said.

OMA is an award-winning, intergenerational program for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia-related illnesses. It is designed to provide residents with the creative freedom to expand their choices and sense of control. OMA uses art and self-expression, coupled with person-directed care principles, to build a bridge across age and cognitive barriers.

The program originated with Scripps Gerontology Center, an Ohio center of excellence at Miami University. OMA sessions are led by trained facilitators. Each older adult is paired with a trained volunteer who provides guidance during art making but who makes no aesthetic decisions for the artist.

Last year, 15 students from Marietta High School volunteered for OMA, providing meaningful intergenerational programming. The students enjoyed it and many are volunteering for future sessions, further impacting the younger generation by eliminating the stigma of aging and opening minds to the possibility of an aging services career.

The goals of the program include promoting the social engagement, autonomy and dignity of people living with dementia by providing creative self-expression opportunities; providing staff and volunteers opportunities to build close relationships with people living with dementia; and showing the public the creative self-expression capacities of people living with dementia through exhibitions of their artwork.

For more information about United Church Homes, visit unitedchurchhomes.org.

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About United Church Homes: United Church Homes, headquartered in Marion, Ohio, has been “Celebrating the Spirit” of seniors for more than a century. The faith-inspired nonprofit organization is one of the nation’s largest providers of senior living services, with more than 1,800 dedicated staff serving nearly 5,000 residents of all faiths in 74 senior living communities throughout 14 states and two Native American nations. UCH is in covenant with the United Church of Christ and welcomes residents of all faiths.

Media Contact: Alissa Paolella, Communications Coordinator, 740.382.4885 or apaolella@uchinc.org