Mineo Tanaka

Mineo Tanaka

Aging with creativity

Older adults collaborate on a play that is based on their creative writing

The connection between the arts and brain health will be explored this fall as the seventh annual Creative Expression, Communication and Dementia (CECD) International Conference gets under way in Vernon.

With the theme, “Creativity and Aging,” the conference takes place Sept. 8 to 10 at the Schubert Centre. The conference’s main purpose is to serve as a distribution platform for up-to-date knowledge exchange on creative expression programs that have been proven to work with older adults, especially those living with dementia.

As the chairman of the Society for the Arts in Dementia Care, Dr. Dalia Gottlieb-Tanaka has been running a number of programs for older adults in Vernon for the past few years and is looking forward to sharing and learning more at the conference.

One of the highlights will be a presentation of My Mother’s Story and Songs Sept. 9 by the At This Age group and musical director Mineo Tanaka.

“It is all based on the creative writings of the women who participate in the At This Age group, stories of their mothers and other influential women in their lives,” said Gottlieb-Tanaka, who started the group three years ago. “The play includes songs and music from the past and engages older people, musicians and singers from the Okanagan area.”

My Mother’s Story and Songs takes place Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. at the Schubert Centre banquet hall, 3505-30th Ave. Tickets are $10 per person, available at the door or online at www.cecd-society.org — click on registration.

Sept. 10 at 3 p.m. will feature a free lecture where everyone is welcome to stop by and meet the conference presenters and share their thoughts on the arts and brain health.

Gottlieb-Tanaka is pleased to announce that B.C. Seniors Advocate Isobel MacKenzie has agreed to open the conference Sept. 10 and to give a lecture.

“This is good news since our conference is getting an acknowledgment of its contribution to this field of care and research,” said Gottlieb-Tanaka. “The conference provides hands-on demonstrations and workshops where practitioners, health care professionals, family members, students and anyone interested in improving self-care and care of others go away with helpful ideas.”

Sponsored by the Alzheimer Society of Canada, the conference will include presenters known for their work in the field of healthy aging and dementia care as they engage others in the arts.

In addition to Gottlieb-Tanaka, conference speakers include: Gary Glazner executive director of the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project, New York; Anne Brisson, artist with Parlamaine studio, Montreal; Jim Arnold, owner of Folklore Music and Arts in Missisauga, Ont.; Julie Gross McAdam, founder and director of MAC.ART Program in Melbourne, Australia; Mary Jane Knecht, manager of Creative Aging Programs at the Frye Art Museum in Washington; Leeanne Stringer, owner/art educator of Ware on Earth Studio in Calgary; Terrie Babiuk, caregiver and member of At This Age group in Vernon; Alison Miller, caregiver and member of At This Age; and Joni Vajda, outreach coordinator, District of West Vancouver.