Senior citizens in Solon soon have the ability to leave their legacy, their stories and their history for their loved ones thanks to creative arts programming made possible by a grant from the Ohio Arts Council.
The city has been awarded $15,000 to participate in a Creative Aging Ohio Initiative that would integrate “The Digital Mosaic” and its Simply Told app into the Solon Senior Centers’ Arts programming. No matching funds were required.
The Digital Mosaic provides a service for individuals and groups to store experiences captured on video, which can privately be shared for years to come, said Jill Frankel, director of senior services for Solon. The Simply Told app for the iPad or iPhone provides an organized, instructive and easy to use method of videotaping and uploading filmed experiences to private accounts.
Funds will cover supportive instruction and accounts for about 30 individual seniors, including those who are part of the Act II Singers and the Act II Players. Those interested will be taken on a first-come first-serve basis and can call Ms. Frankel at (440) 349-6363.
Use of the Digital Mosaic service, as well as instruction and support provided by the Digital Mosaic staff will allow the Solon Senior Center to provide oral storytelling programming and expand reminiscence instruction, as well as utilize video for performance arts instructions, Ms. Frankel explained.
Individual instruction begins this week. The center has an iPad so those participating do not need to have access to their own. Ms. Frankel noted that she will pursue more creative aging grants down the road.
“Incorporating the Digital Mosaic into our arts programming will enrich the lives of our seniors,” Ms. Frankel said. “Arts participation has been proven to improve the quality of life and psychical health of older adults.
“The Digital Mosaic Project also will provide our participants with an ability to leave their legacy, as well as include loved ones in their lives through their ability to privately shared experiences, their stories and performance arts participation,” she added.
For Solon resident Jim Grant, 67, the benefits of the Digital Mosaic and Simply Told app are invaluable. He will use the technology to share the life of his late son with his two grandsons, he said.
“I’ve been collecting information for quite a while,” said Mr. Grant, a former 38-year resident of Solon who now lives in Twinsburg. He and his wife Lyndy lost their son Rick at the age of 38 to cancer three years ago.
“He left two young children and I was planning on writing a booklet or pamphlet about it so that when they grow up, they would get to know their father,” Mr. Grant said. He will use the digital storytelling to share those memories, as well as include memorabilia, picture and a little bit of his family tree, he added.
“As the years go by, there will be more and more automation and the grandkids will use it,” Mr. Grant said.
Solon resident Alice Wilson, 70, plans to sing a traditional Italian song as part of her mosaic so that her grandchildren and adult children will always remember it, she said.
“We have passed that song on from generation to generation,” she said. “We used to put our children on our lap and sing it and then drop them down to our knees and back up at the refrain.
“Those are some of the memories we want to preserve in our family.”
Mrs. Wilson also has a container she has made through the years that include quotes and verses from scripture that she wanted to leave for her daughter and three grandsons. She plans to read those allowed as part of her mosaic.
She will also read a family favorite Aesop’s Fable, “The Ant and the Grasshopper.”
“It is such a neat idea,” Mrs. Wilson added of the digital mosaic. She said her grandsons may not be as interested now as teenagers, but when they get older and start to want to know their heritage, it will be there for them.
“Some of these things can come up and they will want to have their kids know what I was like,” Mrs. Wilson said.
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