As a hospice volunteer, my job as I see it is to generate strong, loving relationships with people facing the end of life...and we both know the clock is ticking.
Using the Virtual Museum ArtBook is excellent with new patients, especially when we have to break the ice. Usually, it takes two or three visits before we are comfortable enough to share our intimate moments. When using the ArtBook, as we share whatever our experience is while viewing the art, intimate conversations are immediately triggered...we converse about people, places and things that matter the most to us. It's not about "I have a grandmother who lived in Pittsburgh," it's about, "Oh! This painting reminds me of every year when my parents took me to Pittsburgh to visit my grandmother. The snow was so high, it was higher than the top of my head! And you should have known my Grandmother, she loved me so much! She always cooked for me and her house always smelled so good...etc., etc., etc." For hours on end, they share unabashedly about "the loves of their lives."
I've personally witnessed people who seemed near death who were completely revitalized by sharing the Art Experience, sitting up in bed and wanting to view some more. It's not that their life is extended, it's about what they think about during that extension. Their end of days are not about fear -- fear of dying, or being in pain, or whether they did what they were supposed to do in life, or whether or not their family is taken care of, or whether they are going to heaven or hell. It is about, "You know, I had a pretty good life. I had people who loved me so much and I loved so many in return." People bask in the glow of a life well lived.
And who wouldn't want such a happy ending for themselves and their family members?
I get to use the greatest art in the world to "love on" people. I have the profound privilege of knowing, loving and honoring them for having lived a great life.
As a volunteer caregiver, I completely triumph...I walk out of that room in love with people, and they are in love with me. I am completely fulfilled!
Mark Lombard is a genius for creating this program. My father is in a home for patients with dementia but has been an avid art appreciator and artist his whole life. This program provides him the opportunity to relive the works that he has seen in person and learn about those he has not. For others who may not have experienced art firsthand, it takes them to a place of beauty, beyond their day-to-day existence. Art can also create connections, not only with the images, but with the community of people who looking at it. In addition to being visually stimulating, it is also emotionally engaging. So grateful that this program is being used in my dad's home.
Christian Care Senior Living Community in Mesquite, Texas, is grateful for the Love and Passion that Mark Lombard and his volunteers have shared with our Assisted Living Residents. The attention that our residents give to the Art that is shared is breath taking and memorable. To listen to our residents ask questions about the art and share their life experiences with the group is very special. The Love of Art Discussion group has become a monthly event in our Assisted Living. Praying for this Community partnership to become a lifetime event for our Senior Residents. Sharing and Caring for the Love of Art is so very important to us all, no matter what the age.
Thank You, Cynthia Evans, Activities and Special Events for Bentley Assisted Living, Christian Care Senior Living Community, Mesquite, Texas
The most important aspect of any museum is engaging the community. This program allows seniors and those with disabilities to also enjoy the finer and better things in life. I think this is a wonderful and much needed program that shows interest in maintaining the arts and compassion to the community.
I have served as Director of a Hospice, Executive Director of a Hospice Foundation and on the board of a Hospice Foundation and this is one of the most impactful, exciting projects I have ever seen for making a real difference in the quality of life of terminal patients. Even the research supports the difference art makes in quality of life for people living out the end of their life. However, more than the reduction of pain medicine and the relief of stress from pain and suffering, there is the sheer joy experienced by patients when they are transported out of their limited circumstances to a world of color, and vibrancy, and peace and tranquility in the pictures shared on the book. We are excited to expand this project in Northeastern Oklahoma by purchasing additional books to make available to all area hospice volunteers.
As an Executive Director in the industry as well as a patient and hospice advocate, I have seen first hand the magic that is created through the "For Love and Art" organization. Bringing art from around the world to the bedside of a terminally ill patient can enhance the patient's mood, emotions & other psychological states. Using art with individuals suffering from cognitive deficit diseases can ignite interaction that is often dormant in the heart, mind & soul. My organization received the "For Love and Art" book as a gift & our staff and volunteers had an invaluable tool that they could literally take to the bedside to engage the patient in a way. The Board of Directors for this organization is passionate, creative & dedicated to enhancing the lives of patients who are ill by bringing works of art from around the world.
For Love and Art is such a blessing to healthcare organizations and patients alike. It is my prayer that this organization may see continued success and a real feeling of accomplishment as they touch thousands of individuals for many years to come.
As a physician I interact daily with patients confronting death and dying. Too often they have feelings of fear, loneliness and even abandonment. The virtual museum artbook gives persons with limited mobility the opportunity to experience peace, comfort and happiness. Perhaps for a brief moment they can reminisce about the joys and happy times in their lives and be known, loved and honored for a life well lived.
The Amon Carter Museum of American Art has been a partner with this organization since its' inception. Our visitors come every year to share in the common human experience of seeing the beauty of a moment through an artist’s eyes, to sense the forces that combine to give the artist the ability to translate his or her inspiration into a form that can be valued by others. In this case, FLaA uses the power of art to help folks who are unable to visit the museum feel the same thing that the artist felt. To understand an emotion, to revisit a cherished memory, to laugh at a shared joke, to escape the commonplace and replace it with the extraordinary, to provide a moment of respite from pain or despair or fear of what is coming. Sharing the moment makes it even more meaningful.
I helped to provide direction for the website's hosting environment, mission, marketing and over all web visibility. I provided small donations here and there & volunteered my time. I witnessed the donation money purchase a digital artbook that was placed into the hands of volunteers at the VA Hospital in Dallas. It is truly remarkable how these veterans saw something for themselves in these art master pieces and came to life again!!
Truth beauty and goodness are ways we transend our ordinary daily experiences and conect with the eternal within ourselves and others. For Live and Art re-connects those who are at the end of life with the art experience allowing them to transcend their daily experience. As a nurse working in hospitals we know by incorporating works or art and nature we reduce the stress levels of those who enter our facilities - For Love and Art is transforming the experience of those who are seen by hospice volunteers who take these digital works of art to the patients as they visit and share with them the experience of art, connecting together easing the suffering and sharing joyful moments.