Cedar Village Retirement Community has roots extending back over a century ago. It was established following a merger between two Jewish homes for older adults: Glen Manor (est. 1883) and the Orthodox Jewish home (est. 1906). Cedar Village has retained its traditional Jewish values while welcoming the twenty first century with open arms. It is a thriving community in Mason, Ohio where residents are given opportunities to participate in a myriad of life-enriching activities. One such activity is OMA, and the OMA team is proud to announce Cedar Village as January 2017’s site of the month.
“My main goal is to make my artist feel as happy as possible, and I have realized that when I am happy and enjoying myself, she can feed off that and experience those same emotions.” – OMA Volunteer
Cedar Village has been an avid supporter of OMA since the program’s infancy. The two organizations have developed a rich and full relationship throughout their partnership of over eight years, culminating in 16 total OMA art shows to date. Volunteers for this particular site come from a myriad of sources including Miami University, the University of Cincinnati, and local communities. Cedar Village is also unique from other OMA sites in that some of its residents serve as OMA volunteers.
“[The best part about OMA is] when they have the art class. I can’t wait…OMA is truly unique.” – OMA Artist
A Cedar Village art show is nothing short of exquisite. Rows of beautiful works of art line the gallery walls. OMA artists, volunteers, residents, family members, and staff come to witness a celebration of creativity and newfound intergenerational relationships. Traditional OMA art is interspersed with other unique pieces of work such as hand-painted Rookwood Pottery tiles (shown below on the table displays). The OMA art show remains hung on the walls year round, with regular updates of exhibitions in May and December. The display serves as a reminder to all of the creativity, autonomy and dignity that are possible for people with dementia if given opportunities to thrive. OMA has research data to support this.
“She didn’t say much else before leaving but she kept smiling. I think that it made her feel good to realize that I am there with her because I want to be, not because I have to be to get paid.” – OMA Volunteer
There is evidence to support what many OMA participants already knew: OMA is a catalyst for positive experiences and overall well-being in people with dementia. With funding from David and Nancy Wolf of Cincinnati, OMA was able to compare residents’ well-being while participating in OMA and in other activities at Cedar Village. Cedar Village opened its doors to OMA and allowed researchers from Miami University to observe residents for this research. The results show that of all the activities observed, residents displayed the highest levels of overall well-being during OMA.
Today, Cedar village continues to act as a gracious host for OMA each week. Residents and volunteers alike look forward to the program as a highlight in their week. David Schneider, a Cedar Village resident and OMA artist discussed his thoughts: “[The best part about OMA is] when they have the art class. I can’t wait…OMA is truly unique.” The OMA team would like to extend heartfelt gratitude for Cedar Village’s continued partnership over the years. Because of sites like Cedar Village, OMA is able to improve the lives of people with dementia and continue its mission of building bridges across age and cognitive barriers through art.