IDEAS FOR CAREGIVERS
Museums are closed. Many museums educators and professionals are at home.
And what about our more fragile visitors?
Elderly people, but also children, people with disabilities, people without an internet connection, lonely people: how can we help them to create meaningful connections with others and to carry out self-rewarding activities?
Many of us take care of some of them, from far or near, sometimes with difficulty or lightness. We are many and different, and there is no "right way" to overcome all this. That's why I tried to summarize some inspiring activities, easy to experience, and with different levels of difficulty.
PLEASE NOTE: If you are reading this text from your mobile phone, keep in mind that you will only find a selection of proposals: to read them all, I suggest you access them from a computer or tablet.
1. Drawing with felt shapes
Cut the felt into small shapes (but not too small: the sides must not be less than 3 cm). Use different colors and keep a larger sheet of felt that you will use as a base for your work.
Together with your caretaker, start filling the base freely as if it were a drawing, using the different shapes or reproducing some easy pictures. This easy, sensory approach, activity is often used in museum programs that work with people with dementia. If you need advice on how to cut the felt take a look at this website.
2. Let's sing and breathe together
Singing is powerful, especially when we're singing songs we know and like. We can sing together another person through the phone, by distance, (on the balconies!), or even better in presence. To get off to a good start, it's always useful to breathe deeply and warm up your whole body, as those in the Singing for Better Breathing Program do (at the link you can find a warm-up lesson and many different and famous tracks song by an unexpected chorus).
3. Plant your seeds
An aunt of mine asked me recently if in this quarantine I had any plant to grow: she lives alone and she told me that having something green around makes her feel better. In these weeks, it's not always easy going to a nursery, so we could try to plant the seeds of the fruit and vegetables we normally eat. Some of them easy to germinate are tomatoes, potatoes, lemons, onions, ginger, garlic, beans, and peas. Find more information at this link.
4. Draw from numbers
Write some numbers, possibly large ones, and start drawing around them as if they were some sort of suggestion for our creativity. This simple activity is relaxing, and useful to discover how far your imagination can go. How do you do it? Take a look at this video on Youtube otherwise try to do as you understand and as you want, there are no rules!
5. Make your own tiny museum
A few weeks ago, the contemporary art museums Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana (Venice) launched online workshops curated by several guests, using the hashtag #PalazzoGrassiAtYours.
So far, I particularly liked the activity proposed by Giulio Iacchetti for #OpenLab Day 1: the idea was to build a museum collection composed of only 6 small objects to celebrate observation and beauty. You too can do yours. Just need to find some small objects that interest you and share them with friends. Of course, you can also just build your own little museum keeping it secret, updating it periodically.
6. Look around for letters
Our eyes are used to looking at things from a few points of view: we have to thank our brains, otherwise we would end up going crazy managing multiple meanings. Having said that, it would be useful to train ourselves to observe things and objects in other ways: for example we could try to look at them as they are, focusing only or their shape. Look around you and search for the alphabet letters in the space, I'm sure you can find many! The challenge, of course, concerns the letters that we can recognize in forms and not those already written.
7. Look around and make your own story
This activity works better if you have a digital camera, a smartphone and you can take some pictures. The idea is to invent a short story and make a simple visual script just taking pictures at your home: pictures should be no more than five. If you want, you can also use an app; it's https://steller.co, and it seems like it's done on purpose!
8. Enjoy collages
Many of us already know Keri Smith and her famous series of books, including "How to be an Explorer of the World". She recently created a website where every day she suggests a new activity, in several languages. You can find all her proposals on her website Exploration of the day. One of my favorite ideas is the essential one on April 24, about Texture College: it reminded me how incredible it is to work on photocopies, in particular, on old photos. The black and white copies are fantastic: they could be landscapes to be filled with new elements or even relatives and friends to be reunited even if they have never actually met. If the thought of family and friends is positive, thinking about them can be a relief.
9. Visualize music
Have you ever tried to see how music changes, trying to visualize it through colors? Turn on the radio, look for instrumental music and draw it together, discovering how your works could be different only at the end.
Do you like music? Discover something different and explore the Google Music Timeline!
10. Play with your boredom
Finally, if you are tired of going from one activity to another, enjoy the boredom. Who suggests well how to do it is Hervé Tullet, the artist and performer, in his series of videos Boredomdomdom available on Youtube. Have fun!