Senior Living on the Suncoast

Expressive Arts ft. Encompass Health

April 23, 2021 Steve Bennet-Martin, Linda Odom Season 2 Episode 4
Senior Living on the Suncoast
Expressive Arts ft. Encompass Health
Show Notes Transcript

Steve Bennet-Martin invites Linda Odom, the Director of Creative Connections at Encompass Health Rehabilition Hospital of Sarasota on to discuss the importance of expressive arts.

Topics Discussed Include:

  • Encompass Health Rehabilition Hospital of Sarasota
  • Art therapy versus expressive arts
  • The power of art on the brain and mind
  • What are expressive arts?
  • Miracles though art and music

Call Encompass for help today at 941-921-8600

Support the show (http://www.patreon.com/happylifepod)

Linda:

Or if I get too much, just give me some kind of statements. Okay. Uneasy. Oh, that too. Uh, for eight years, I.

Steve:

Hello there everyone. Welcome to senior living on the Suncoast. I'm your host, Steve Bennett, Martin. And I'm having to bring me the only senior centered podcast to assist us all. As we navigate the complex systems of aging together, up and down, the Southern coast of Florida. My mission with this podcast is to help me show that the rest of your life is the best of your life, which means today we'll be talking about expressive arts. Our guests expert, Linda modem is the director of creative connections at encompass health and rehab. And his background includes an art and healing certificate from the rain college art design and her desire is to bring about wellness, healing, peace, and change.

Linda:

Welcome to the show. Thank you.

Steve:

And before we get into more about what you do for those of you who are listening, we also are going to be recording this and showing it live on Facebook later on in the month. So I guess it'd be somewhat live someone prerecorded, but if we have any visual cues, that is why just enjoy the audio though, because it will be audio focused. The visuals is just the perfect minute to see your beautiful faces.

Linda:

I love that. Thank you, Steven.

Steve:

Yes. And so tell us a little bit more about how you found yourself working as the director of creative connections.

Linda:

Oh my goodness. First of all, thank you for having me today on your show. To talk about the work that I love when people ask me, how did you get involved in being an artist and healthcare? I have to be honest and say it must've been a little bit of divine intervention because. It was a long journey to get to this point. It wasn't like, Oh, I'm going to go to school. And then they go work and work in healthcare. My dad had a major stroke at the age of 58 and almost the age than I am now. And when deputy had his life excuse me, when he had his stroke that not only turned his life upside down, but also our families and professionally I had been working with Delta airlines. At that time I was in on the management fence track. And in, in flood service, we just bled tenants. My dream, or my goal was to one day probably run the airline or space has fluid in that department. And so when that happened to daddy who had always been a strong figure in my life, my parents had me gone. My mom actually lives here within this near harvest. And so with that It really just changed the way that I looked at everything personally and professionally and as a child, I've always been very creative. I wouldn't say I was always artistic, but very imaginative. My first love of the arts is creating variety and I think it was mango that once said that there is nothing more artistic than to love the fault. And I think that kind of describes who Linda is now at a stage in her life is I I'm born with a servant art. Which means all the jobs I've ever done, all the hats that I've ever worn, basically revolve around serving people, wanting to be around them, to hear their story, to tell their stories and in turn have found perhaps maybe,

Steve:

Yeah, well, that's beautifully said. And so getting into and working at encompass health and rehab, can you, it's not in this outline, but can you share with our audience a little bit about what encompass health and rehab is? I know that we've done a previous episode with frankly, before kind of about what is acute rehab. So tell

Linda:

us, I'd be happy to encompass health where you were formally known as health center. That's how a lot of people know us and we're out of Birmingham, Alabama, and the location I work at is actually in Sarasota, right off of big Ridge and encompass health is an inpatient rehabilitation hospital and went online to tell people is we're kind of like a boot camp. Okay. Okay. So in other words, Nick, probably 96, 97% of our patients have common injury. So if you've had something like that happen, like a major life event is what I can call a curve. Right? Yeah. That's one thing I say when life throws a curve, learn to swerve, that's a topic that's all gone. And, but so you've had the stroke. Okay. So first of all, you're probably going to go to a local, acute care hospital. So just maybe say like a Sarasota Memorial or doctor's hospital, and then in turn is determined that probably you need some time to therapy. Maybe don't learn to speak again to walk again, to talk again. That's when you would come to us. And our goal is to get you back in the game. Okay. That's our goal. And so well, thank you. W we pride ourselves on being the best at what we do. That's one reason that the work that I do has really resonated at this point in my life. I've now retired from Delta. After 30 years. For many years, I was balanced about when I was working as an artist, I started the program and then come home. 11 years ago, believe it or not. We're a weekend program. Don't express bars. But what encompass does is really to try to manage the, I want to say the person, not the patient. Okay. The mind spirit, body in action. And so where are come in and where my team comes in is that we try to grade that compliment to the other therapies like physical therapy, occupational PT OT speech. Sorry. I was just like

Steve:

And for those listening and not watching, being in the hardest we are getting ready for construction students, hearing ambient noise, hammers or thrills. We

Linda:

apologize, but yeah. Okay. So beautiful place here. It's beautiful. I can't wait until you're officially open so people can see it. I'm very impressed by that

Steve:

seat. Yes. Now tell us about some of the. You know, I know it part is we have an art therapy program where we have an art studio and our residents were able to do different artistic activities and events. But what do you guys do with like the creative connections program and encompass that's different than just kind of an arts and crafts program?

Linda:

I know it's so much more. Yes. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for saying that. So there's so many people think, Oh, are you just playing or are you just watercoloring or, you know, think or pain or something. People don't realize that. I think it was, I hate to use quotes a lot, but I love them because they inspire me, but Georgia O'Keeffe once said that to create any type of art tastes courage. Okay. And so you can imagine, say I've worked with someone or someone in their family that has had I'll mention struggle because that's not love that. That's actually what got me into the work. Remember I thought about that. And so that's why I'm so passionate about it. So what I may do is. One thing that I have adopted as a little program that I'm calling music and from the shop, do you, do you know what I'm on doll is? I feel like I've

Steve:

heard it at some point in my life and my travels, but I can't pull it so

Linda:

well when I say I know a lot of times people, especially to your audience by BCS, And did she say Macklin? And I'm like, that's an instrument. What am I Donald is, it's not a circle pattern. Okay. And you know, today these new adult coloring books are so popular. So a lot of times you can see those. But what music at McDonald's is, is I get people to either create their own circle. With images and shapes and designs. In other words, we send an intentional self that we're going to think on. All right. Instead of just like color, right. We set the intention, but the music card. Okay. The music stimulates the Brian another way, just like when you add that puffy music, right. Intro, then kind of get us up and get us going. With music and dollar's, we're sitting around say a circle and I say, say, Steve, you know, what's your favorite song? Or what type of music do you like? What's your John rhe. So I'm going to throw it out there to you. Do you have like a favorite type of thing? I

Steve:

typically like top 40, but I've been recently into a Spotify playlist, feeling myself as many explicative. It gets me going.

Linda:

Okay, exactly. And so you can imagine when we're sitting around a table, right. Everybody's coming from a different place. So I say the only rules that we have is we have to be respectful of each other. So often in the bundle and music session, we may have somebody that says, Oh, my favorite is Sinatra. Someone else may say like, Johnny dad, Andrea Bocelli, Bruno Mars, Ozzy Osborne. It does not matter. Okay. So we have to be respectful that even possible I've had something. But the beautiful thing is when we talk about the new music, often we're singing. So of course we're engaging, you know, right. Our lungs and our enters and all that, but also what a memories, excuse me. What was music did and often thinks about our members? Right. So, so one of my most beautiful times was when I worked with a couple and the gentlemen. The only song he needed to say was you needed to find Ambari you need to be, he must've said that every time they came to like say more times, right. And other people were like, what do you mean by that? And then finally he said, that was the song that was playing in our wedding. And so was, his wife was seated right beside him. Amanda had, obviously was fighting for everything. You had to get his life back together. He wanted her to know. That he was still there and he remembered and he still needed her and she needed to be on it to me. That was beautiful. That was great. More than just art or just a cramp for a project. That's kind of what I like to

Steve:

do. Oh, that's beautiful. And so for your position, as the director of creative connections, what does a typical day or a week look like for you? Like what did you do?

Linda:

Well, it's really changed a lot. Like everything else, right? Yeah.

Steve:

Scared. I have a lot of changes, cause I'm sure that this is one of the first things we're getting out, as we're saying six feet away, you know, and being able to enjoy doing things in public again. Correct.

Linda:

Well, let me tell you, let me tell you what it looks like. I'll say a precis of that. Not as, I don't want to give any more tension to that thread and see where it works. But our program is a weekend program. I started this program it's only on Saturdays and Sundays. And like that, like I mentioned earlier, we are complex. So the other therapy. So with that being said, our patients at encompass are required to get at least three hours of that therapy five days a week. So that's 15 hours. They're there, they're in boot camp all day. So sometimes. They need to make up therapy because maybe they didn't feel well or maybe they were running a fever or something like that. So my typical day is as soon as I can walking into the hospital on Saturday, I hit the ground, the classes back to back. They're only about an hour, hour and a half each. And then on Sunday we have either a combination of thing. Sometimes we'll have like a feature or my favorite is often when I call. Which is whenever I go to the rooms, kind of like the PI for right knocking on the door saying, Hey, do you want to do anything creative? Looking at me? Like, what are your main creative? But often that's an opportunity for people to maybe be able to talk, to share their to bring in my tool kit, you know, paints, drawing, consoles, tablets, paper, music, and hopefully, maybe a kind heart, but listening to the ear, the cus perhaps, maybe the nurses. Don't have time, you know, to get as much as they would, like, because they're too busy doing the, as I call the bootcamp. Yeah.

Steve:

The hands-on care. Yeah.

Linda:

Do I have time to share a story? Okay. I was, I was thinking about, in fact, this year, one thing that kind of That meant something to me as some kind of a miracle type situation. Cause we see miracles happen all the time. We see people learn to walk again, talk again. That's why I love being in rehab. I worked in a regular hospital. I've worked in acute care. I've worked up at a cancer hospital. But the thing about rehab is this awesome to see people get in their lives back on faculty. And I'll never forget when Marty came into class, he was kind of an old hippie about think that derogatory. I just want you to paint the picture. I really like too, because he was kind of long hair and he was kind of quiet and, you know, he just kept to himself and you know, that's okay. And so the next day his nurse, he had a male nurse, Roger and Roger said, Hey, Liz, is there any way you can work with Marty? Today's family was supposed to come see and something happened. They're not able to come. So I asked Mark to do something. He said, yeah, that'd be fine. And he was also kind of a little bit nervous of what that would entail. And so, but I noticed the day before he really liked to paint. So I said, would you just like to paint? And then would you like to paint by yourself? Would you really that you just do it by yourself? And he looked back and I was like, absolutely. You know, imagine you're in the hospital. So my giving you permission. To do something and to do something creative. So then he said, do you have any patterns? Do anything? I can do arts and crafts. And then all of a sudden he had a tattoo on his back. So he said, I got this tattoo of this dragon on my back. Is there any way that you could take a picture of it? And maybe I can use that as a pattern. And I thought, well, this is kind of weird. Yeah. So he had on, believe it or not, he actually had on a tank top. So we lifted up his hair. He had shoulder length hair, so he lifted up his hair and I took a photograph of this dragon that was on his back. And so let the the awesome right beside for an hour, hour and a half, I didn't realize it was that long. Cause I got caught up on the floor, but when I came back. Marty had drawn and painted an exact replica of the drive that on his back. And this was a gentleman that had neuropathy. So you can imagine. The Thielen and his extremities and his nerves were, that's why he was there because he was losing that. But he had been in graphics before. And so that was a way that he was reconnected. I didn't know all this until after I saw the drag and I thought, Oh my God, this got control better than I ever could. But what was so cool was when I asked you, I said, why. So, how do you feel right now? And from that, that look of like brokenness earlier, he was sitting up straight and he was smiling instead of you guys stoked when he said that it was like, it took him back to what was real. So then I took it one out of, you know, he was in a wheelchair, so we're not wilting back into his room, his nurse, Roger. Remember the one that said, Hey, you do something. Roger. So what did you do? And when were you held up the dragon? Roger polluted me and I looked at him and Roger was like bowling, livable. And he said, Oh, so that's what you did. And I go, all I do is hold space. All I do is hold the space. So I hope that thank you for letting me adults thing, but I had to share that because that's just a very fond memory of something that's unusual. And I want people to see that. This is so much more than art. It really is. It's about connecting.

Steve:

Yeah. Yeah. I can imagine. I mean, when you were asking to share a story, I was almost expecting, cause there's another one that you've talked about before you actually published an article in guideposts about an experience you had with us. Very special gentleman. Tony, can you share with us a little bit about Tony?

Linda:

Oh my gosh. Tommy, how can I describe Tony except to say that. It, it was a love affair that I guess was not supposed to last, even from the, get-go imagine an 87 year old male with dementia and a 50 something year old lady or met together, it kind of reminds me a little bit of lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, the collaboration back, and, and when Tony Bennett actually helped Gaga, I guess, to launch into another era is kind of how. Or another Avenue, not the RSQ space, but I think that's kind of how I feel about the relationship with Tony Tony's family. Reached out to one of my former professors at green Lake to see if there was a way that someone could work with their dad, because he had been a painter as a hobby and he was suffering from dementia. And they suffocate, they were saying, we're losing him, we're losing him because Tony was kind of an elitist, you know, he didn't want to go to the arts and crafts at the facility. He had, you know, he wanted to do more than that, but he was also withdrawing from his disease. So it was almost a relationship or a such an encounter that almost didn't happen because when I was asked to do it. And my plate was extremely full, extremely full. I mean, I don't need to taboo, but there was no more room. It was kind of like a Thanksgiving dinner. It's like, no, no, no more, no more, but, but maybe one more little piece of pop. Right. So with that, yeah. So he was very sweet piece of pie. He was it was, he was, it was wonderful. I learned about life by working with Tony. I learned about myself. I reconnected with my faith on a deeper level. But in turn, I think that God plays Tony and I together because I think Tony helped for me to find and define. The basis of where my work wants to go in the future. And then in turn, I believe that I helped prolong his life in some ways, because in the beginning he could paint beautifully. He had been, like I said, he had been a painter when I brought the supplies and the tools in, and he touched them. You could see that even though he could not articulate, Oh my goodness, he would touch the brushes and just smile. Or he would ask me about inspiration and I'm going to forget one time. He didn't want to do anything at the, especially, you know, the, and you couldn't remember the top to the bottom of a paint brush. And I kept praying like, Oh God, how can I reach this man? And I kept asking this family, I said, do you still want me to come? Because I kind of felt guilty taking their money. Right. If I wasn't quote, painting. And they were like, Oh, Linda, if you could just, if you feel comfortable, still common. Yeah, sure. Whatever. So at that time I was still flying full-time and so I would go on the road and take videos and I would bring those back and we would talk and share stories and then turn, that could be our views. That could be our inspiration, but I'll never forget. One day he told me, he says, Linda, he says, no, I can't do it. And it kind of broke my heart, but he said, I want to watch, I want to watch it. And I had never thought of myself as being that strong of an artist, because remember I said, I like to write and not do all that other. And so as I picked up the brush and just began to paint, just simple designs and shapes, nothing profound, no landscape, no portrait, nothing. Just kind of basically, maybe like even a methodology is going to circle, trying to relax. He just washed my hands and his eyes followed every mode. And all he said was, don't ever say, I can, again, you came and tattoo me was very profound. At that time, I looked at my hands and realized the power that my hands had. They could still move. And even though they may not do what I wanted to do, they were doing something. And in turn, they were actually doing, they were actually paying for him. So it was a beautiful, beautiful journey. And I was actually advised before working with him because I had worked with people with dementia, but I had never worked one-on-one I was also a little bit intimidated with that. Didn't know if I would have the skills to know if I would have the talent. But as I mentioned before, we, my faith. Hourly on that first day, I knew I was led there just from an encounter of a painting he had in his room of Christ in 1954, I think at one time, Tony thought he wanted to be a priest to told me how wild was that, you know? And in turn I'm so thankful that it was a decision that did not make light lightly to say no. Yeah, my mom had asked me sleep on it, pray on it, see what happens. And I did, and I fully expect to say, no, I can't do this. So I learned a lot of that from that as well that sometimes we need to think on things, sleep on things, things, because sometimes the answers come unexpectedly and I'm so glad I didn't miss that. Life-changing I adored.

Steve:

Yeah. Now, in addition to all of the amazing work that you do with your patients and like the people that you work with on a regular basis through encompass, I mean, you're also here doing the podcast cause you all start. One of the speakers that speaks for income is throughout the community. So well this people, Pete, well, people listening well lightly, the caregivers are seniors themselves. We also do have some professionals that listen as well. So do you have any topics other than art? That you love to talk about or that you want to share with them just in case they want to reach out to you about doing a

Linda:

presentation? Sure, sure. I'd be happy to thank you. I guess probably this past year, I have really been working on a lot of topics and often when people find out, I guess maybe about my background and about the work that I do, like you did, they're like, tell me more. And then I think sometimes as I talk with an organization, I've got to how, you know, what are your needs? For example, there's a networking group that I'm a part of called the leader of our own. And it's up in the Sarasota Lakewood ranch type area. And they asked me around the holidays, they said, Hey, Linda, if you need to do something fun for us, Ryan, can you do something fun for the holidays? So I tend this thing that I called from, you know, from frazzle to follow along. Okay. And in turn, we do a little bit hard, but we also talked a little bit about. You know, life and having, you know, what the importance was with the holidays. Also when the encompass developed quite a few other topics for some of our community partners one of them, I do some work with the neuro challenge foundation for Parkinson's. I teach virtually every week with them and have created a series called Soul journey, no passport required. And where we talk about a lot of different things. So I guess if people would like to reach me, they can reach me through encompass instead of soda, or my email is simple and it's not my personal email, so I'm not going to give that out. Okay. Just in case I got bombarded just to use it, but it's Linda, L I N D a period, O D O M at encompass that CDN C O M P a S S health. Dot com. And just to reach out to me, like I said, I have a lot of different cough topics that do talk on a lot of things that I think that are relevant to today. I did one a while back called you know, when life throws a curve, learning to swerve, staying up time, not a bright world living a more creative life. Let's say, for example, you had something going on with artists, or maybe there was a situation that you guys were dealing with, but perhaps one of either staff. Or your residents? Maybe to have a different spin on it. I can tell you or something, I guess that's part of what I enjoy still is the writing. Yeah. I was going to say

Steve:

that helps. Cause I mean, I enjoy creative writing as well as a hobby, but I think it helps like making these outlines and getting these

Linda:

things planned. Yeah. No, just like with speaking with you, I will admit this is my first podcast. I was a little bit nervous, but thank you for making me feel so comfortable. And you know, in turn, I think that's how ideas generate. So instead of having a lot of canned talks, I really like. And talk to whoever might be interest to say, what do you need? And see if I can create something that stretches me as well. I'd rather do that than have just a series this just canned and, you know, do the same talk over and over again. It keeps it fresh for me as well. Yeah. And as we're

Steve:

nearing the end of the interview, if someone wanted to get more information about expressive arts, how and where would they look.

Linda:

First of all, I tell everybody the internet has everything, but locally we do have some resources. There's an organization that I'm involved in called arts for health Sarasota, Manatee. And that's one, there's also a school that's located in Sarasota. That's called expressive arts, Florida. And if you want, let's just say a little bit more bricks and mortar. The university of Florida in Gainesville. Okay. Has an arts and medicine program. Now that is at a master's level say you don't really want to go back to school, but saying, you're just curious. Maybe you'd like to dabble your toe in it, like idea. You can Google complimentary medicine, not as a compliment, but compliment as an addition to, like I said, with the compliment of the EA, but complimentary medicine, you could Google arts and healthcare. You could order Google express and arts, arts, and medicine, anything like that. Creativity, creativity, and aging, very pocket, or today Dr. Jane Cohen, you know, that used to be with the national Institute of health has written a book talking about the nature of mind. And so, you know, if you just type in those buzz words, I promise things will pop up. If you can't find them, I can reach out to me. I'll help you out. Perfect. And I will

Steve:

include much of that in the show notes on the podcast and through Facebook lives. So thank you. And how can someone find encompass if they need help

Linda:

for we are located, you mean physically or internet or both

Steve:

phone

Linda:

number? Oh gosh, I don't want the phone number right off the top on. Okay.

Steve:

All right. So if you were interested in getting in touch with encompass, the best way you can reach them is nine four one nine two one. Eight six zero zero, which I will also include in the show notes. And the website, is it encompass health rehab.com.

Linda:

You can just go, go encompass that's E within a encompass health rehabilitation hospital where all of the United States but just to put a plug again, our hospital is getting 20 more new beds in may. So that is going to bring us up to about 120 beds. So we will be one of the largest incumbents in the United States and that's because of our community support. So I should

IMG_0131:

say

Steve:

you guys are pillars in the community, some very bad to be showcasing you in a couple of your other great

Linda:

I love it.

Steve:

Thank you. So everyone stay perfect.

Linda:

Was that too much?