Miami's OMA Receives Designation from State

Student working with elderly woman on art project

OMA's one-on-one art-making sessions are designed to tap elders’ creativity and imagination rather than their memory.

Miami University Scripps Gerontology Center’s Opening Minds through Art (OMA) program was recently designated a Quality Improvement Project by the Ohio Department of Aging (ODA). It’s one of only eight approved programs to meet the state’s requirement for such designation.

OMA is an intergenerational art program for people with dementia and trains nursing home staff to collaborate with high schools, colleges and other service organizations to provide a person-centered visual arts program. The one-on-one art-making sessions are designed to tap the elders’ creativity and imagination rather than their memory.

Elizabeth

Elizabeth "Like" Lokon

“Receiving this designation from ODA strengthens our ability to train aging professionals, artists, educators and volunteers to provide creative arts opportunities for people with dementia while addressing ageism issues at the same time,” said Elizabeth “Like” Lokon, founder and director of OMA.

OMA is offered at 29 locations across the United States and Canada, pairing over 400 volunteers with an equal number of people with dementia annually. Lokon would like to grow the program to include every nursing home in the state.

“Ohio is committed to ensuring the highest quality of life and care for our neighbors who reside in the state’s 967 nursing homes,” said Bonnie K. Burman, director of the Ohio Department of Aging.

"We proudly support programs like OMA that help build relationships and lead to the most responsive care and caring possible.”

Cedar Village Art Show

OMA's art-making sessions culminate in a gallery exhibition celebrating the artists’ accomplishments while educating the public about the creative capacities of people with dementia.

Research evidence shows that OMA improves the well-being of people with dementia and contributes to a positive change in volunteers’ attitudes toward aging and dementia.

OMA has received awards and recognition from LeadingAge Ohio, the National Center for Creative Aging and Generations United.