OMA Volunteer Training Course

March 8, 2023
Current Status
Not Enrolled
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Welcome to the OMA Volunteer Training Course. This training will prepare you to facilitate the creative expression of people with dementia. In the process, you will have the opportunity to build on your person-centered communication skills.

Timing: This online course will take about 2.5 hours to complete. You can do this online training at your own pace and resume where you stop at any time. Please consult your instructors regarding the specific deadline to complete this online course. Completion of the online training is required before you can do the in-person OMA session and work with someone with dementia.

Quizzes: Periodically, there will be quizzes to check your understanding. You need 80% correct before you can continue to the next topic. You can retake the quizzes multiple times. The final quiz to complete the training is comprehensive.

Certificate of completion of the online training course: After completing the final quiz and marking all lessons and topics complete, a downloadable certificate of completion will become accessible from the top of this course page. You need to email or print this certificate of completion and share it with your instructor and/or the OMA Facilitator at the retirement community. Make sure to save a copy of your certificate for your own records as well.

Doing OMA for more than one semester: You do not need to retake the online training if you decide to do OMA again in future semesters. Just show your certificate of training completion and sign up for another round of OMA. This is another reason to save the certificate on your computer.

What is OMA? Opening Minds through Art (OMA) is an award-winning, evidence-based, intergenerational art-making program for people with dementia. It is a failure-free program designed to provide opportunities for creative self-expression and social engagement for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Developed in 2007 at Miami University’s Scripps Gerontology Center in Oxford, Ohio, the program is grounded in person-centered care principles and has been replicated in over 150 facilities throughout the USA and Canada.

OMA’s Mission: To build bridges across age and cognitive barriers through art.

OMA’s Goals:

  1. To promote the social engagement, autonomy, and dignity of people with dementia by providing creative self-expression opportunities.
  2. To provide staff and volunteers with opportunities to build close relationships with people with dementia.
  3. To show the public the creative self-expression capacities of people with dementia through exhibitions of their artwork.
  4. To contribute to the scholarly literature on dementia and the arts.

Course Outline:

  1. Introduction: How to navigate the course and Pre-Volunteer Experience Survey (5-10 minutes).
  2. Lesson 1: Evidence base: The impact of the arts and OMA participation on people with dementia and on volunteers.
  3. Lesson 2: Alzheimer’s and the Brain: How Alzheimer’s disease affects the brain.
  4. Lesson 3: Opening Minds through Art: OMA’s mission, philosophy, and methodology.
  5. Lesson 4: Facilitating the Creative Process: Example interactions between volunteers and artists that show different ways of facilitating the creative process of older adults living with dementia.
  6. Final Quiz and Online Training Completion Certificate: After you pass the Final Quiz, please submit your certificate of completion to your instructors/ coordinators. 
  7. In-person session(s): Please use your university’s system to sign up to do OMA with someone who has dementia.
  8. Final Reflection and Post-Volunteer Experience Survey*: You will receive an email 10 weeks after you finish this training to complete a Post-Survey and submit a one-page reflection of your OMA volunteer experience. Please submit this reflection to your instructors.

*If you are required to submit a one-page final reflection on your OMA experience, please submit this essay using the link provided in your email and also send it to your instructors/ coordinators. If you have chosen to participate in our OMA research, you will also need to complete and submit the Post-Volunteer Experience Survey. Please complete the Final Reflection and Post-Survey within two weeks after you have completed your last session working with someone who has dementia in OMA.

For Technical Help, please contact the OMA team at

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