Q. You started the new position – Dementia-Inclusive Communities Director for Elder Care Alliance – in September? Was it what you expected? Why or why not?

A. I would say more or less. My expectations were that it was a pretty open field. I knew what the values were behind this initiative. I have really been spending two months clarifying what the position would look and feel like and going to communities, especially the ones with memory care, and spending the day there.

 

Q. Have you set dates for any of the six events you plan to organize as part of the one-year immersion into dementia-inclusive art experiences? When is the first one? Others? How did you decide the location and focus of the first one?

A. I think that we have one for February, but it is not firmed up yet. We are working on the location, and we are working on three topic program focuses. In general terms, these are the three:

– How do we use our research to give back to the arts organizations?

– A program that benefits care partners.

– Program for people who are isolated or have difficulty leaving the house.

 

Q. What partnerships have you formed during your first 60 days?

A. I can tell you I have been communicating with several organizations and quite a few individuals. We are not quite ready to make those partnerships public yet, but we are getting close.

 

Q. Have you found a way to incorporate the Elder Care Alliance mission and vision into these events? If so, how?

A. I think it is already pretty embedded in the corporate brand with Engaging Hearts • Transforming Lives • Erasing Boundaries. We are thinking about our community partners and how we want to bring voices to all of them. We want them to feel ownership. We have had some conversations with people who work on the policy level. The obvious one is bringing people with dementia and care partners into their community.

 

Q. What’s the most satisfying part of your role?

A. I think being able to have the support of Elder Care Alliance in developing some of the programs and some of that comes from the communities. We have that trust and support from ECA and also from the San Francisco Foundation. At the end, I think it will be something we all can be proud of.

 

Q. How has your background in art helped you in this position?

A. It has helped me tremendously. Not only am I able to use a lot of the art experience I have, but I can also use special skills I have. We learn how to make creative connections with different people.