26 Feb 20200 Comments
“Creative arts therapy is the new best medicine in assisted living,” says Maria Scaros, executive director of The Greens at Greenwich, a privately-owned assisted living community for people with memory impairment.
Scaros (pictured above) should know. She’s board-certified in the training of drama therapy and a licensed creative arts therapist. She’s also a board-certified Clinical Chaplin.
Therapies utilized at The Greens include music, dance/movement, art, and drama. Each one utilizes that particular art form as an “intervention” and a means for memory impaired individuals to communicate their needs and feelings. Whether a person is pounding on a drum, modeling with clay, or writing poetry, creative arts therapies provide the “props” for them to express themselves.
As a young girl, Scaros was a member of a children’s theater company. On one outing, the group performed at a mental health facility. After the show, members paired up with patients. Scaros spent her time dancing with a young girl who chatted with her non-stop. Upon leaving, a nurse overseeing the patients told Scaros that the girl she’d been talking with was an “elective mute.” She hadn’t spoken in three years. Dancing with Scaros enabled the girl to communicate. That experience left an indelible mark on Scaros, informing the choices she’s made and the professions she’s chosen.
Residents of The Greens also benefit from a new generation of creative arts therapists who work there as interns, while completing their master’s degrees in creative arts therapy.
Scaros is particularly impassioned by the benefits of these therapies, sharing that, “They are the most effective way of reaching a person and bringing them joy.” She adds, “Creative arts therapists make better caregivers because they can come up with different ways to reach someone and are very comfortable with silence.”
The Greens is also active in the community and hosts arts workshops at the Bruce Museum for area residents – young and older. On March 18 and 19, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., they will offer workshops in art and drama therapy, and music and dance/movememt, respectively. As Scaros says, we all need playful time and the space to enjoy our creativity. You do not need to be an artist, musician, actor or dancer to benefit from the evening. To reserve a space, contact Maria Scaros at 203-531-5500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Greens at Greenwich is located at 1155 King St., Greenwich, CT 06831.