Make Your Own Fun: How Melrose Meadows Residents Bring Their Activity Ideas To Life
Blase Bingo? Cookie-cutter activities? Paint-by-number events? Not here at Melrose Meadows. When it comes to providing fun activities and events for our residents, we’re all about variety. Sure, our activities director, April, does an amazing job of finding out what residents enjoy doing, looking for what’s hot and happening in our Iowa City community and integrating everything into a vibrant activities calendar that has something for everyone. But what she (and we) really get jazzed about is helping our residents create their own fun by putting together their own activities group. In this post, we’ll shine the spotlight on two of our resident-created social groups: Pins & Needles and Walking Art Tours.
Pins & Needles: The Knitting (and Conversation and Sewing And Everything Else) Circle
Joan Fouts is a lifelong knitter. When she moved to Melrose Meadows, she wanted friends to knit with. So one day she met with the Activities Director to discuss her idea for a knitting club. They put up signs, started knitting and that was that.
“We named the club Pins & Needles so that it would be welcoming to people who had other hobbies besides knitting, like quilting or embroidering,” she says. “Our goal was to make it broad, and it worked! It’s so much fun just sitting and working with other people. We’ve had people come to our circle and just say that it’s so much fun to sit and talk.”
Pins & Needles meets every Wednesday at 2pm, and all skill levels are welcome. “We have people who’ve been doing this their whole life and people who’ve joined because they want to learn a new skill,” says Joan. “It’s been really fun having beginners join the group, because we all band together to help her learn, which is fulfilling for us. We all like helping each other, and everybody really enjoys the opportunity to sit and just chat about anything.”
One of the best benefits of the group (beyond creating wonderful gifts for friends and family and self)? Getting to know other residents better. “This group has helped me facilitate some good friendships,” says Joan. “For example, one of the members and I really hit it off, and we try and get the same dinner table together every night. It just helps you feel at home here.”
Walking Art Tours: Exploring the Art of Melrose Meadows
When she moved to Melrose, Marilyn Wilson noticed there were a lot of nice pieces of art along the walls. “I’ve always liked art history, and I got curious about who these artists were, their backgrounds and the stories behind the paintings,” she says. “I noticed that other residents seemed interested, too, so I thought it would be kind of fun to learn more about the art and then take other residents on a little educational tour.”
After talking with the Activity Director – who thought it was a great idea – Marilyn started taking notes about the various pieces of artwork, researching them on her own time and putting together handouts. She’s done two tours so far, and plans to do more as she continues to research.
“We’re slowly making our way all around Melrose,” she says. “I still have at least two or three areas to explore with people. More will probably pop up, too. After my first walking tour, one of the gals in assisted living wanted us to come and see her beautiful collection of woodcuts. That ended up being our second tour.”
What are some of Marilyn’s favorite pieces? “I’ve found two pieces of artwork I’m really attached to. One of them is in the hall where I live. It’s a painting by Rosa Bonheur called The Horse Fair. Not only is it an impressive piece, she’s a pretty impressive lady. She was a French artist back in the 1800s, and she was the first woman to receive a French Medal of Honor.” Her other favorite piece is a Van Gogh called First Steps. “It’s a little garden scene, and there is a father crouched down waiting for his child to take his first steps. It’s very charming!”