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Greenwood Senior Center class focuses on improv and theatre to deal with memory loss, screens documentary ‘The Penelope Project’

The Greenwood Senior Center, 525 N. 85th St., continues to expand its services for those dealing with memory loss, including a new four-week series and a documentary screening.

“Re-ignite the Mind with Improvisation and Play” runs from 1-2 p.m. on Wednesdays, from June 12 – July 3. Cost is $10 for PNA Members, $15 for non-members for the series. There is no charge for care partners. Call 206-297-0875 to register.

This four week class uses improvisation and theatre games to tap into the creative abilities of individuals experiencing early stage memory loss (ESML) and their care partners. Improv participants engage fully in the present, making improvisation a perfect theatre class for students living with memory loss. There is no memory requirement, just a delight of participating in a creative experience that releases the imagination while giving a sense of accomplishment, self-confidence and social enrichment. The class, taught by theatre professionals from Taproot Theatre, promises an hour where participants find success as they learn new things, interact socially and live creatively in the moment.

Care partners are encouraged to attend, but it’s not mandatory, as this class can add a wonderful new dimension to daily life. This program is subsidized by the Washington Health Foundation.

The newly-released documentary “The Penelope Project” will be screened at the GSC at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, June 19, as a benefit for creative programming for people living with dementia. The event starts at 4 p.m. with a “happy half-hour,” followed by the one-hour movie at 4:30 p.m. and a discussion with experts in our community on creative engagement in aging services.

Cost is $10; all proceeds will benefit the Greenwood Senior Center and Elderwise. Make a reservation online, or call 206-297-0875.

What is the Penelope Project? Using the story of Penelope from Homer’s Odyssey, a team of staff, residents, artists, and students engaged an entire long term care community in Wisconsin in creativity and learning. Everyone was welcome. Discussion groups, movement exercises, visual art, stories, and music all emerged from this multi-year project that culminated in the performance of FINDING PENELOPE, a professionally-produced play staged inside the care facility. Over 400 people attended the performances. Here is a link to a small clip from the film.

There is work being done in the greater Seattle community to bring a bold, optimistic, innovative and creative approach and vision to programs for people living with dementia and other chronic diseases in and out of long term care facilities. This documentary will highlight this exceptional experiment and be an inspiration for more opportunity and collaborations.

The Greenwood Senior Center is a program of the Phinney Neighborhood Association and in the last three years has created and added creative programming for people living with dementia. Elderwise is a daily program that recognizes and nurtures the value and wholeness of older adults, regardless of their cognitive or physical ability, and using art techniques meets their need to experience life deeply in the present.