"The Penelope Project" Raises the Bar on Activities for People Living with Dementia


Click on the screenshot above to watch a two-and-a-half minute clip from the documentary about The Penelope Project.

This month, the Greenwood Senior Center and Elderwise will screen a recently released documentary, The Penelope Project, to benefit creative programming for people living with dementia. This one-hour film documents a collaborative effort to dramatically raise the bar on activities in long-term care.

The Penelope Project, completed this year, uses the story of Penelope from Homer's Odyssey. To produce the story, 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, which culminated in the performance of Finding Penelope, a professionally produced play staged inside the care facility. More than 400 people attended.

To watch a two-minute clip from the film, click here.

Work is underway 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. The documentary highlights this exceptional experiment and serves as an inspiration for more opportunity and collaborations.

In the past three years, Greenwood Senior Center, a program of the Phinney Neighborhood Association, has 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, using art techniques to meet their need to experience life deeply in the present.

The documentary screening takes place on Wednesday, June 19, from 4:00–6:00 p.m. at the Greenwood Senior Center (525 N. 85th Street, Seattle). The event starts with a "happy half-hour" (delicious treats and beverages) followed by the film and a discussion with several experts in our community who will focus their remarks on creative engagement in aging services.

The cost to attend is $10 per person. All proceeds will benefit the Greenwood Senior Center and Elderwise. To make your reservation online, click here. To reserve your place by phone, call 206-297-0875.

Author Cecily Kaplan, director of the Greenwood Senior Center, is passionate about community-building.