Nishma is an integral part of the Bethany team and develops countless deep relationships with residents and their families through the Opening Minds Through Art Program she runs. With her passion for people, seniors and the artistic process, Nishma is creating something truly special at Bethany.
Opening Minds Through Art
Nishma’s journey to Bethany began on the Eastern Coast of Canada where she studied Psychology and Gerontology at the University of St. Thomas. As is often the case, sometimes our deepest truths are revealed to us by the people closest to us, which is exactly how Nishma discovered her passion for seniors’ care. Her partner mentioned how well Nishma communicated with seniors at her mosque. From there, Nishma realized her connection with seniors was more than a recreational habit. It was a calling and a career she could be passionate about and make a real difference with. She enrolled in school shortly afterwards and unknowingly began to find her way to Bethany.
“You see the creativity come out of our residents. That’s what makes you content at the end of the day. I’ve accomplished something. They’ve accomplished something.”
After graduating, Nishma began her career with an eye to join the team at Bethany. She worked for several organizations before securing her job at Bethany, a place she refers to as her “retreat.”
At Bethany, Nishma runs the Opening Minds Through Art (OMA) program for seniors with dementia. The program is designed to use the power of art and creativity to stimulate participants and give them an opportunity to express themselves and explore new skills. Bethany residents join Nishma and her volunteers once a week for one-on-one sessions where they transform blank canvases into works of art, which are then auctioned off to help continue to fund the program.
The Power of Art
Nishma describes dementia as the unrelenting and persistent feeling of realizing you’ve lost your house key. The OMA program is a way to provide residents with that lost key and unlocking the artist within. When speaking about the residents, Nisham’s passion and commitment to the program is obvious. Whether describing a woman with extensive artistic experience who rediscovered her talent, or talking about the dedicated volunteers she works with, it’s clear that Nishma is making a difference.