Arts for the Ages – Assisted Living Week 2012

In less than a month, assisted living facilities across the US will be observing National Assisted Living Week. (Sept 9 – 15) The theme for 2012 is Arts for the ages.

The National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) has created a wonderful resources for the week. In it they state:

Art for the Ages
is an opportunity to share, enjoy and to congratulate
the mastery of art, music, sports, and the development
of skill. Assisted Living communities around the country will be celebrating, remembering, and showing their talents together…

All of us are affected by arts. From the food we eat, the music we listen to, the photos we take, the paintings we view, art surrounds us. The list of arts shared in the NCAL booklet are so fun! Besides the usual visual and performing arts they include politics, motor art, tai-chi, food plating (just to name a few).

As music is the soundtrack of much of our lives, I have created some grouping of songs around various forms of art. A big thank you to two big contributors via Facebook to this list – Elizabeth Buckmaster and Jonathan Gardner.

Songs about wearable art:

  • Easter Bonnet
  • She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
  • Putting on the Ritz
  • Top Hat, White Tie and Tails

Songs about photography:

  • Times of Your Life – This was used on a Kodak commercial
  • Photographs and Memories – Jim Croce Speaks about times past remembered through items
  • Picture on the Wall – Carter Family
  • She Got You – A Patsy Cline song about lost love remembered through a photo and records.

Music about works of art:

  • Vincent (Starry Starry Night)
  • Mona Lisa
  • Pictures at an Exhibition (classical music for listening rather than singing)
  • If (a picture paints a thousand words)

Music about literature:

  • Paperback Writer (the Beatles)
  • Love Letters in the Sand

Other ideas:

  • If I Knew You Were Coming I’d Have Baked a Cake (Food)
  • Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor (Statue)

There are so many other songs that could be added. Put those you think people in assisted living facilities would appreciate in the comments below along with any additional thoughts for celebrating “Arts For the Ages”.

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    • JoAnn Jordan Reply

      If there is an art your mom enjoys or enjoyed, that would be a great share. It can be a way for her to reconnect with herself as well as those who also enjoyed that art form or appreciated it.

  • Rachelle Norman Reply

    These are great lists! Another to add for literature: “I Could Write a Book.” And also, “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter.” The wheels are turnin’ now, JoAnn! Thank you!
    Rachelle Norman recently posted..A New Way to Become a Music TherapistMy Profile

    • JoAnn Jordan Reply

      Great songs to add, Rachelle. Always happy to get wheels turning for others.

  • Ann Becker-Schutte Reply


    What an amazing theme. It is wonderful to see how big the umbrella is that they are using to define art. I don’t have an immediate song, but I know that many of my patients when I worked in assisted living enjoyed crochet or other fiber arts.

    Ann Becker-Schutte recently posted..Self-Care 101: Be Patient with ChangeMy Profile

    • JoAnn Jordan Reply

      Often art is viewed as only the classics: orchestral music, museum paintings, ballet, etc. They are important. However, seeing the art in the broader sense makes it approachable and in my view is more honest in definition. I once had a nursing home resident who had made hats. Talk about a rare art form. That kick off a big discussion about various hat styles and materials with many of the women. I hope many take the time to explore the wide variety of arts. There is something for every interest.

  • Carolyn Stone Reply

    Dear JoAnn,
    This is great to know about. I’ll spread the word. It brings back memories of my mother’s extended time in a skilled nursing facility due to dementia. She had taught high school English. I could read her favorite poems to her, and she would join in, and coach me on my reading. She also had done a lot of sewing, and she had a wonderful button collection–interesting buttons saved from discarded clothing. Once I brought in some of the most interesting buttons, and she enjoyed remembering the dresses and coats they had come from. It’s true. The arts are so rich in bringing back memories.
    Carolyn Stone recently posted..Back to School JittersMy Profile

    • JoAnn Jordan Reply

      Collections are great to share – buttons, stamps, coins, dolls, trains. There are so many memories and stories people can share wth these items.

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