Greetings are a gift: Holiday cards benefit Silver Club, members who make them

December 5, 2018  //  FOUND IN: Michigan Medicine News,

This year’s winning design was created by an Elderberry Club member.

Every fall, members of Silver Club — a Michigan Medicine program designed for adults with dementia or other forms of memory loss — are given a project: create a piece of art that can be transformed into a holiday greeting card.

It’s an important task, allowing them to tap into their creativity while also providing an opportunity to pass along vital information and grow awareness of memory loss and related issues to the wider community.

“Many of our members find that creating artwork is a meaningful experience,” said Shannon Etcheverry, director of Silver Club. “It helps people to think in different and creative ways.”

All of the art Silver Club members create is submitted to the Alzheimer’s Association, Michigan Great Lakes Chapter, which then chooses a design to go on its annual holiday card. The card is sent to more than 5,000 recipients each year.

“Those cards can obviously be used as a simple holiday greeting, but they also have valuable information on the back about Silver Club, memory loss and other resources available to those who are living with cognitive change,” Etcheverry said.

‘Much-needed awareness’

This is the fifth year that Silver Club members have participated in the greeting card program. There were 10 submissions from participants in the adult day program or Elderberry Club, which is a program specifically for women with memory loss.

Etcheverry said it’s an honor and privilege for all individuals to participate in the activity — whether their designs are chosen or not.

“Every year, it allows us to reach people who don’t know much about memory loss,” Etcheverry said. “And the more awareness there is, the more likely individuals or their loved ones will get the help they need. For the families of Silver Club members who know how challenging memory loss can be, it’s an important outreach effort that they get to support.”

The Alzheimer’s Association benefits from the partnership as well.

“Our chapter looks forward to the collaboration with the Silver Club every year,” said Jennifer Howard, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association, Michigan Great Lakes Chapter. “Alzheimer’s disease affects 5.7 million people throughout the U.S., and more than 180,000 in Michigan alone. This partnership allows us to elevate the artistic voice of an individual living with the disease, and generates much-needed awareness of the cause.”

How to find them

This year, one of the Elderberry members’ artwork was selected and will have her artwork serve as the centerpiece of the holiday cards. Her submission, an abstract piece focused on the theme of “presents,” can be seen above.

Silver Club purchases a number of the cards for themselves to send to families and program participants. But the general public can get access to both this year’s and previous years’ designs, and each purchase goes directly toward assisting the Silver Club program.

They are made available at lectures hosted by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) within the Michigan Medicine Geriatrics Center during the holiday season. People are able to pick up packs of cards and provide a donation to Silver Club if they wish.

“OLLI’s mission is to enhance quality of life by providing stimulating and meaningful educational offerings to older adults, designed by older adults,” said Lisa Barton, director of OLLI. “So we’re thrilled to have the chance to support Silver Club’s mission.”

The cards will be offered at OLLI lectures on Dec. 6 and Dec. 11 from 9 a.m. until 10 a.m. at the Morris Lawrence Building at Washtenaw Community College.

“We will have different designs available — each of the selected entries for the past three years,” Barton said. “All Michigan Medicine community members and their families are invited to stop by, check out the cards and learn more about our program in the process. It’s beneficial for everybody.”

If you are unable to attend the lectures, contact Etcheverry directly for more information about the cards, or Silver Club in general. She can be reached at smguida@med.umich.edu.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to get these cards, support our program, and make it a happy holiday season for everyone,” Etcheverry said.

To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease or the resources offered by the Alzheimer’s Association, call 800-272-3900 or visit www.alz.org.

RELATED STORIES