Program Spotlight

Kairos Alive! Moving Well™ Training and Education

Adult Day Services, Bemidji, MN

The Approach

Kairos Alive! Moving Well™ Training and Education is a custom-designed training and education series of the Kairos Alive! Choreography of Care™ model. It is intended for those involved with intergenerational or older adult programs  from caregivers to top leadership and everyone in-between including artists, educators, community leaders, healthcare and social service professionals. The program includes conceptual framework, tools and techniques, applicable research, lectures, videos, Moving Well™ training book, demonstrations, and practical opportunities for interactive participation and observation. Focus can be customized to intergenerational models; caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease or other neuro-cognitive impairments; and people of all ages with developmental disabilities.

Participants learn best practices to engage families, staff and residents through dance, music and story. Moving Well™ encourages movement in healthy and sustainable ways to improve wellness outcomes, mood, enjoyment, and staff and family satisfaction – all which will better the long-term success of arts programming within the organization. Additionally, we identify what residents want to learn from the project and how we may encourage their engagement as arts learners. Assessment of growth due to artistic intervention is conducted mid-way through the program and again after program completion. Staffing and/or volunteer requirements for sustained programming is also assessed.

The Participants

Thirty-nine health care professionals, community artists, teachers, family caregivers, a trainee in Parkinson’s care, and arts and social service administrators. Also in attendance was community leader and colleague Kathryn Gonzalez, Founder/Director of the Bemidji Participatory Arts Collective.

The Participatory Arts Collective is a group of staff and volunteers dedicated to fostering inclusive and engaging art-making for people of all ages and abilities connected to healthy lifestyles/aging in the Bemidji area.

The Objective

Held in the fall of 2015, Kairos Alive! facilitated a Moving Well™ series inclusive of two Dancing Heart™ sessions, and two Intergenerational Dance Halls™ for the whole community. The goal was to provide caregivers and service providers to older adults of all abilities, with Parkinson’s, early-mid-to-late Alzheimer’s, and other forms of dementia, with training and education on how to incorporate participatory arts in their work; and to positively improve health outcomes of these individuals and the Bemidji community.

This Moving Well™ series in Bemidji was made possible through grant funding from the Mardag Foundation – which awards grants to nonprofit organizations that improve the quality of life in MN for children, seniors and other at risk populations, and for programs in education and arts.

The Impact

Kairos’ involvement in Bemidji, sponsored by collaborating arts organizations, has introduced their work to a wide spectrum of education, healthcare, community, Tribal, social service and arts organizations. Educating local performing artists in the Kairos Choreography of Care method promotes sustainment of these programs moving forward.

Additionally, these interactive experiences of dancing, singing and sharing stories have been found to improve the social connectedness for individuals of all ages who participate in the programs.

In The Spotlight

We’ve learned so much from you [Kairos]. We never thought we could do something like this.”  Jon (Hondo) Langhout, the Suzy and Hondo School of Dance

The [Moving Well™] training has resulted in a local group actively involved in doing this work, and awareness and enthusiasm for it in many different community organizations.”  Kathryn Gonzalez, Founder/Director, Bemidji Participatory Arts Collective.

The Feedback

At the heart of participatory art lies a desire to promote engagement, empowerment and an improved quality of life across all sectors of society. Art, after all, is a beautiful and powerful vehicle to dissolve social barriers ridden with labels of separation such as disables, poor, rich, old, young or different. Participatory art making vitally addresses a key indicator of wellbeing, individually and collectively – social interaction. It is a fact that as humans we all need each other. When we reach out and create collectively, we fulfill a basic human desire to connect with one another in a positive way.”  Kathryn Gonzalez, Founder/Director, Bemidji Participatory Arts Collective.

The Outgrowth

Kathryn Gonzalez continues to work with Kairos as a colleague, collaborative program facilitator, participant and speaker. And two Bemidji-area professional dance teachers who participated in the Moving Well™ training were inspired to incorporate the tools and techniques learned from Kairos Alive! into their social dance programming, and may offer dance classes geared for adults 55+.

Supporting Research

“…art and creativity can provide interpersonal and meaningful engagement that contributes to the overall health and quality of life of the individual and the wider community (Bungay & Clift, 2010; Cohen, 2006; Flood & Phillips, 2007; Patterson & Perlstein, 2011).” From a Master’s Thesis written by Wengler, Terese A., “The Importance of a Creative Arts Program for Senior Housing Residents” (2015). Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy Theses. Paper 8.

The [Moving Well™] training has resulted in a local group actively involved in doing this work, and awareness and enthusiasm for it in many different community organizations.

Kathryn Gonzalez

Founder/Director, Bemidji Participatory Arts Collective

We’ve learned so much from you [Kairos]. We never thought we could do something like this.

 Jon (Hondo) Langhout

The Suzy and Hondo School of Dance

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