Syracuse Jewish Family Service to Hold Arts-in-Aging/Arts in Dementia Program, November 12

Syracuse Jewish Family Service at Menorah Park is inviting the community to attend “OMA-thon” on November 12 from 2-4pm and experience Opening Minds Through Art, or OMA, the agency’s signature arts-in-aging/arts-in-dementia program.

“Come see for yourself how saying “yes!” to aging works,” SJFS Interim Director Judith Huober urges, “by playing the role of an ‘elder artist,’ by training and participating as a ‘volunteer facilitator,’ or just observing at this fun, upbeat taste of how SJFS is using the arts to help us, young and old alike, to re-wire our relationships to the idea of aging and to people who are old – including, in many cases, ourselves.”  A two-part training was required to attend as an elder artist.

OMA is an award-winning, evidence-backed intergenerational art-making program for older people, often those living with dementia. Elder artists are paired with volunteers who facilitate the creation of a piece of art. Relying on imagination rather than memory, and strengths instead of lost skills, elders experience the joy of creative expression while engaging with others across the generations. Volunteers gain ease and satisfaction interacting with older people, particularly those with dementia, along with affection, enthusiasm, and a sense of kinship toward them.

OMA-thon is a part of SJFS’s “Say ‘YES!’ to Aging!” campaign to help community members of all ages and stages to really engage with the Jewish values of L’Dor V’Dor, meaning from generation to generation, putting a positive spin on aging and combatting societal and internalized ageism.

OMA’s stated mission is to “help build a society that values all people, including older adults living with dementia.  This is achieved by building genuine friendships between people living with dementia and volunteers as they engage in artmaking.” Research has established that elders participating in OMA feel greater self-esteem and sense of well-being, dignity and autonomy. Volunteers, families and the public demonstrate increased respect for the creative and self-expressive capabilities of their older loved ones and neighbors.

The Say “Yes!” to Aging campaign is both a fund- and a friend-raiser to support SJFS’s programs and services around creating aging- and dementia-friendly community. OMA-thon is made possible by a Community Program Fund Grant from the Jewish Federation of CNY, as well as other generous donors. Individual donations are always welcome. For more information and to register to attend, visit, call 315-446-9111 x234 or email

Posted Under: News