Be patient, be flexible, be responsive. This can be one of the mantras of an Artful Moments program – even more than other museum programs. For a person with dementia, always remember that their abilities will continue to change. For some, understanding information and formulating a response (whether verbal or action) can take some time. It is important to be comfortable with pauses. Leave time for people to process information. Give them time to act. Learn when to wait, and when to gently support them. We will discuss strategies for this later in the module.
Being prepared with a good plan is important, but always be prepared to adjust as you go. When working with people living with dementia, things can change quickly. What worked before may not work in the moment, and your flexibility to adapt your plans to suit the needs of your participants will allow participation to continue. Responding to the conditions in the moment with sensitivity and creativity can be the difference between a positive experience and a negative one. The strategies that follow will support you in your adjustments, but the first step is with you as the facilitator – be prepared to adjust, or abandon plans and that flexibility will pay off.