Ultimately, the meeting space needs to be functional and safe. An ideal meeting space would have the following characteristics:
- One room, large enough to create distinct spaces for different activities, but small enough to provide a cozy and welcoming atmosphere.
- Easy access to washrooms, preferably visible.
- Easily monitored exits.
- Easy access to tables, chairs, and a piano.
- Easy access to a kitchen for refreshments and lunch.
- Easy access to storage.
- Dedicated space that is not likely to be disrupted.
- Access to a quiet outdoor area suitable for outdoor activities.
Adapting Your Space
To the extent that your meeting space does not have some of these characteristics, you may be able to adapt the space and/or your program to accommodate. For example, if the space is smaller, you may just limit your program to a smaller group. If the space is not as cozy and welcoming as you would like, you may be able to add some comfy chairs to add some warmth. If washrooms are not within the meeting room, the space can still work, but you may need to designate a volunteer to be watchful for participants who may leave to use the washroom and then be unsure of how to make their way back to the meeting space. If a kitchen is not easily accessible, you may be able to simplify your menu, or you may choose to add volunteers who can help bring food from the kitchen area to the meeting space. If there is no outdoor area available that would be safe and relatively free of distractions, you would just not offer outdoor activities in the program.
When you are considering your choice of meeting space, don’t forget to consider how other groups in the church use the space. While the space may be booked for use while the Side by Side program is taking place, there can be situations when the space may be required by others in the congregation. Will the space be needed in the event of a funeral? Are there events during the year that might conflict? Since it can be difficult for people living with dementia to adapt to change, the ideal space will be one that minimizes disruption. For those times when disruptions are unavoidable, be sure to consider what alternate spaces in your building might be suitable as a back-up plan. If there are no alternate spaces, communication of the program needs to others who might require the space is helpful and necessary for avoiding cancellations, which can be very distressing to the participants and care partners relying on the program.
God is weaving a tapestry of care
that connects all of us in Grace.
Come. Be part of it.
© sidebyside.care 2020