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Interlude at The Bield

April 19, 2007

I’ve just returned from Scotland where I was invited to attend a small symposium on the arts and dementia care. It was hosted by two dedicated initiators in the field, John Killick and Kate Allan. After several cancellations we were only 6 altogether, but it was just right for this first meeting.  The location couldn’t have been more perfect; and though it is a Christian organization the spirit of the place leaves room for all faiths.  It is a beautifully restored farm and landhouse in rolling hills near Perth. There is a walled garden, walking paths, a labyrinth, and the sweetest indoor swimming pool with glassed roof and tropical plants vining on the beams. It was warm and sunny, the trees were blooming, birds singing, and the food was magnificent- organic, local,  and vegetarian.

We exchanged inspiration as well as deep sadness at the state of dementia care both in Britain and Holland. There was also frustration at the lack of funding and other support  for this work.

Besides theoretical discussions and plans, we each led sessions of the softer type including improvisational drama, art, feltmaking and creative writing.

I came away exhausted but with a sense of no longer being alone in this field. And with connections to 6 new friends including a minister who shared the Bield with us that weekend and soon became part of our group.

We already form an organisation of the heart, and hope to meet again, hopefully with more members, to formalize the ties and plans somewhat.

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