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Move & Dance 4 Joy! February 25, 2011

Westward Ho Residency in urban setting, Phoenix, Arizona. This is a HUD assisted property for 300 retirees and physically/mentally disabled persons of lower economic means.

This was once the hotel where big bands played and dignitaries stayed. It was converted in 1982.

This integrated programming of arts and wellness was organized to meet a community need identified by the residents and the staff at the Westward Ho.

Arizona State University (ASU) Herberger School of Dance and the College of Nursing and Health Innovation have formed a partnership with the non-profit organization, Cultural Arts Coalition to design and implement a new model for collaboration that improves, enhances, strengthens, and sustains the highest quality of life for all people, particularly those aging citizens of Maricopa County. We have envisioned an integrated, holistic approach to promote mind-body fitness that empowers and engages older adults through self-awareness and group interaction. The model, Moving Communities through Creative Wellness explores how arts and wellness strategies positively impact the growth of self-sustaining, healthy communities.

Move & Dance 4 Joy! as sustainable programming has been ongoing since the beginning of September. It is a means to give life long creativity and wellness tools to persons through movement.

Humans create, exchange and pass along knowing through material forms and expressive means. This is art-making and art-making is for everyone. The artifacts of human history reveal these things to us from the beginning of time, documenting our movement across the earth. At the Westward Ho we have created an interdisciplinary environment of "Moving Community through Creativity and Wellness" programming as a means to build community.

To begin the Movement component of this integrated process we must educate the participant as to the cardiopulmonary system.

Journaling takes place to first determine individual goals and to document progress as we move through the ten weeks of instruction.

The programming has a strong wellness component so nursing students who are on site under the supervision of their clinical instructor Kay Jarrell from ASU College of Nursing and Health Innovation, assist during the hours this particular program is in progress. They take vitals and oxygen saturation levels to monitor resident responses before and following exercise. This also allows the resident to know we are working together to promote and support their physical and emotional wellness needs.

Mari is from Argentina surviving her countries killings under dictatorship in the 70’s. Her visual art, which we have found venues to exhibit in the community, is a big part of her healing. Note the shoes she painted. Once again the concept we are trying to promote here is: "Moving Community through Creativity and Wellness" is about animating people through participatory arts programming that places them always at the center of their own experience-and documenting that experience in such a way that their voices and images are revealed, honored, and celebrated over time.

Socialization and laughter are key elements to persons returning and walking away with a Sense of JOY and positive outlook for the day ahead…Lois is our social coordinator for these classes.

Water and food is essential nutritional instruction and always available at each session for persons to drink during class and to take with them.

Control of the Breath and Body Alignment are instructed Pegge Vissicaro, ASU School of Dance, to meet a goal that most of the persons note upon entry into the program. They want to learn how to maximize their breathing and to improve their balance.

The resident also guides the movement through acting as a conductor with all parts of the body in the initial warming up exercises. Classical music, music from nature, Tribal Drumming, Rock and roll, every kind of rhythm is played and can be individually requested by the participants. Tina Turner is a big hit with this group.

They also want tools to improve their flexibility and strength.

Regardless the physical limitations of each resident ALL persons are included in ALL activities to the best of their capacities. Dr. Pegge Vissicaro leads these sessions with the intention of designing curriculum at the university level for dance students that is about meeting the needs of community citizens and not necessarily creating a performance piece. It is about challenging them to move and dance to their greatest level of achievement. Once again it puts the participant at the center of the experience as they learn activities of everyday living incorporated into their lives as behavior changes for wellness. Research acknowledges that a person who is successful accomplishing a newly learned task feels uplifted and happy.

This kind of movement with stretchy bands maximizes movement and begins to create a dance score that will be performed at the Westward Ho in late April.

Other residents pop in to showcase their latest visual art. Abby’s paintings are currently on view at a local library. Abby also volunteers her time with persons creating art works with those who are emotionally disabled. Abby will be faciitating our next in house art making activity for all residents.

Everyone has a good time…

Once again Vitals are taken and recorded at the end before persons leave with fruit and granola bar. Thank you Teresa and Megan for assisting with this health care procedure for the day. Both of the senior nursing students are also young mother.

Pegge conducts the sessions on Friday and judy butzine (CAC) reinforces many of the activities on Wednesday. Judy also adds an element of relaxation and visual imagery for meditative use during days that the residents are not is the dance room. They have also been given a listing of physical activities to keep them moving even when they do not meet. Kay Jarrell and the nursing students have a "Loser program" (based on the TV program) to get the other residents up and moving and losing weight.

Documentation by judy butzine from session on February 25th, 2011