Dominion Senior Living takes their residents on an art walk through their past. 8-12-14
The Smoky Mountains are a place where a person can experience every season and each one changes over time. At the foot of those mountains lies Dominion Senior Living, a center that helps those dealing with their own season of change.
Dominion has many residents living with different levels of memory issues. Life Enrichment Director Bonnie Parton does what she can to help everyone feel at home.
"I need to make sure that they feel at home in their community," she said. "I need to make sure their emotional needs are met, their intellectual needs are met. It's all about their quality of life and making moments of success."
Photographer Paul Hassell was commissioned to provide the new center with some local scenery.
"I guess photography has always been a way for me to connect with the world and the Smoky Mountains has been a way for me to connect with my home because that's where I'm from," he said.
Bonnie then used that art as a way to connect the residents with their past.
"Because it's local art the residents really can engage. It reminds them of the farm they grew up on. It reminds them of home. It reminds them of a picnic they took or a hike they took. A lot of them still retain their long-term memory so they can talk about a family outing to the Smokies they went on years ago just by seeing a photograph of a waterfall."
Bonnie takes the art walk a step further by incorporating arts and crafts that relate to the photographs.
"It's amazing. It's amazing. You add that extra engaging element and it jogs their memory and their face just lights up. It's hard to see them try to get the words out or accomplish a task and have difficulty doing it. That said, the reward is that little glimmer in their eye, that little spark when they have that little moment of success. It's all about little moments of success and that smile comes across and it just, it just touches your heart and there's always a reward, every day, every minute, it's always wonderful. You see those moments everyday."