The day we took my Aunt Pam to live at an assisted living facility was one of the saddest days of my life. I couldn’t believe we were leaving her with a bunch of strangers in this complex that was supposed to be her new “home.” True, it had the appearance of a home in that it had a kitchen and a living room, 5 bedrooms and a couple bathrooms. True, they called themselves a “family.” But, there was one huge thing missing: a sense of home and belonging. I left her facility thinking how sad it was that Pam’s new home had no pictures up on the walls. It felt barren, not like the home or family that my loving Aunt had grown up in. Then I realized that I could help Pam transition by actually taking pictures of her and her new home family. This is how I started PhotoGetherness, a non-profit endeavor to help bring a sense of home to group homes in South Florida.
Research shows that photographs are a powerful tool in establishing a real sense of belonging, and they help make a house look and feel like a home. My goal is to take, develop, frame and hang pictures in Pam's home and throughout all the units in her facility. Furthermore, I want create a family photo calendar with group photographs and individual photographs for the home to have and use and to send copies to the other family members. I have already started this project. I have taken photos of Pam’s immediate villa and am in the process of printing and framing and putting the calendar together. Once I am successful in Pam’s villa, I hope to move on to the other villas to help create this sense of belonging at Sunrise, a complex of 8 villas (with approximately 80 residents) in Miami. Once done there, I will move on to other assisted living facilities in Miami. As such, I have incorporated PhotoGetherness as a nonprofit so that I can seek to raise funds in other ways as well.
Funded by Miami, FL (July 2018)