OPICA: AN INNOVATIVE PROGRAM FOR THOSE WITH MEMORY LOSS

Here’s how this week’s arts and culture column begins:

OPICA (Optimistic People in a Caring Atmosphere) is an adult day program and counseling center for people with dementia.

Their programs include music and art, a rich variety of cognitive and physical exercise, and breakout groups centered on culture, storytelling, and peer support. 

Located in Stoner Park in West Los Angeles, OPICA has no religious affiliation but has received generous leadership and fundraising support from local Catholic individuals and organizations.  Mary Bomba’s mother attended OPICA three days a week for the last eight years of her life.

READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.

4 Replies to “OPICA: AN INNOVATIVE PROGRAM FOR THOSE WITH MEMORY LOSS”

  1. Ingrid Christensen says: Reply

    What a wonderful place! So glad to know that some of the elderly have such a caring place to be.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      I know, Ingrid, I wish I lived next door to this place, just in case when the time comes…thanks for the support!

  2. This last Friday I spend about 15-20 minutes in the outside patio with a dear patient of mine who has dementia and anxiety problems.( Unfortunatelya rare occurence) , What a gift, she went from being quite upset and agitated to a mostly lucid conversation about her family. She was able to express her anguish at being “locked up” and how she wants to be able to be outside and hear the birds..etc etc etc. And it was not with a bitter tone, just calm heartfelt expressions of her sorrow and longings…Oh Heather, I could spend my life taking time to spend with some of the sweet souls…

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      I posted this on Instagram but I don’t think here: (though it’s quoted in an upcoming Angelus piece):

      THE CONSOLATION OF BIRDS

      “Q: Were [the invisible birds he heard] calling directly to you? Could you tell me what they were saying?

      A: Well, they seemed to have a meaning, but it wasn’t something that one could easily paraphrase. They didn’t tell me specific things. They seemed to have a significance. They seemed meaningful. But it was hard to know what that meaning was.

      They seemed to come to console. There was something about them that I came to think of as good. As if one were being visited by the mercy of things…It’s as if in that last place of fragility and pain there is some answering voice from what–how do you say? From the universe, from the heart of being, from the human condition. As if there’s a mercy at the heart of our human condition that these bird calls gave a voice to? Sometimes it seemed like that. All these different ways of thinking about it seemed true at different times. I came to feel that there were many ways of understanding what I was going through, and I could not find any one true way and I had to be able to entertain contradictory types of explanations all together, all at the same time. And just tolerate that.”

      –A psychiatric patient named James Melton, from “Agnes’s Jacket: A Psychologist’s Search for the Meanings of Madness” by Gail A. Hornstein

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