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Art exhibit shares students’ inspiration for children’s book on dementia

By: Country Meadows |

To help kids develop stronger relationships with their loved ones who have dementia, Country Meadows Retirement Communities partnered with the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design (PCA&D) in Lancaster, to create a character for a children’s story and activity book.

It was difficult to select just one but ultimately Gabby Hoffman’s illustration was chosen for the project.To breathe life into the book’s characters, the Country Meadows team worked with Bob Hochgertel, Chairman and Associate Professor- Illustration and Design Department, PCA&D, to establish a contest for senior illustration students. Country Meadows memory care experts presented the workbook concept to the students during class to help them better understand the expectations. Weeks later, the group returned and selected the winning illustration from 23 entries.

To celebrate the students’ talents and share the publication with families, Country Meadows is hosting a traveling exhibit of student artwork at each of our campuses. The schedule for the remainder of 2016 is:

August—Country Meadows of York, 1900 Trolley Road.
September—Country Meadows of Frederick, Md., 5955 Quinn Orchard Road.
October—Country Meadows of Allentown, 410 North Krocks Road.
November—Country Meadows of South Hills near Pittsburgh, 3560 Washington Pike, Bridgeville
December—Country Meadows of Wyomissing, 1800 Tulpehocken Road.
The exhibit will pick up again in spring of 2017, and those dates will be announced.

Students were able to gain some real-world experience through this project. “Working with outside parameters gives our students a good feel for meeting real deadlines and balancing the needs of a client with their own artistic vision. It was fantastic to see the lightbulbs go off as they heard about dementia and the story idea. The illustrations they presented were all very different in style and content from fun, almost ‘Dr. Seussian,’ to very realistic oil paintings,” says Hochgertel. “I saw students rise to the challenge and stretch themselves to meet the clients’ needs, and it was really a win-win-win for everyone involved, providing Country Meadows with a variety of solutions to choose from and bringing recognition to our school as well.”

“The Unforgettable Adventures of Grandma’s Cape,” was written by Country Meadows’ Executive Director of Memory Support, Joel Kroft. It weaves the story of a child and his/her relationship with Grandma, and how that relationship is changing because of her “forgetting disease.” Along the way readers have different activities to complete, all focusing on the topic of dementia/forgetfulness. As father to three young children, Kroft thought a story would help children connect to the information. He drew from his own experience with a grandmother who had Alzheimer’s disease as well as hundreds of other grandparents and families he has worked with at Country Meadows during the last 15 years.

Click here to read more about the children’s publication, which is free at any Country Meadows location.

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