In light of International Flower Day (19th of January) I thought that people would enjoy the theme of flowers to bring a little joy and meaning to their day! We incorporated the art of Floriography which means the language of flowers. I was inspired by the recent book I read by #VanessaDiffenbaugh a intriguing fictional story which draws on the Victorian language of flowers used to express emotions which she creatively uses to underpin how she tells this captivating story.
I reflected on this story due to my work with people who are cognitively impaired. Remembering the many different methods of how we communicate is useful to increase awareness of the ways we express how we feel and what we are thinking. We often think that how we communicate is simply by speaking and reading...
However, when we become aware that we are communicating at every moment our window of understanding opens. In every moment you are communicating, whether that's with yourself, with others or even with your environment in some way. Do you know how you express your communications? Are you communicating in the way you want? Are you aware of how somebody may be trying to communicate with you? These are all things that I try to mindfully consider at each moment. What expression am I wearing on my face, my eye contact, my gestures…
Exploring the art of communication is a thought-provoking exercise that invites people to self-reflect.
I thought discussing the language of flowers to celebrate international flower day would be a wonderful way to explore the multi-dimensional representations of communication.
People who are cognitively impaired may experience alterations in their ability to communicate. This also presents a challenge to the person they are communicating with. In order to support a person’s method of communication everything possible must be done to consider their communication such as facial expressions, body movements, posture, gestures, eye contact, touch including tone and volume of voice. To make this exploration more fun and to attribute meaning to the people in receipt of care the use of floriography opened up some interesting dialogue, creative skills and different emotions.
For those quite interested in this activity we used the five sense which are often explored when discussing flowers (and being outdoors!); sight, smell, sound, taste and touch. We started to create poems by using the imagery and meanings of flowers to encourage reminiscence and imagining. We started off by saying “I feel happy when I...smell…”, at which point the person tried to fill the 'blank' if they wished. We continued through the senses and explored what appeared!
We also had a laugh, particularly when one person said, “I feel happy when I smell stocks”, which was misheard as “socks”! It is so nice to see people laugh and smile!
Flowers really do brighten a person’s day, it was so lovely to learn about what made people happy and what that thoughts were prompted! There were memories of pet dogs, which led on to remembering who cooked Sunday lunches and the fun had on walks in the woods, there were opinions shared about how some didn’t wish for cut flowers in the house and preferred them outdoors, there were also moments of support for people who weren’t using tactile skills who joined in by pointing out areas of drawings that needed colouring in. Some people sat nearby and listened to the conversations or watched on. These are some ways which we can bring activities into peoples lives and I for one think that flowers are a wonderful way to do it.
Next time you see a flower perhaps you will want to know what meaning is ascribed to it? or next time you gift someone a flower you might want to really think about what you are wanting to say to them? Either way, enjoy the beautiful floral creations gifted to us from mother nature...
Photos gratefully uploaded from Unsplash.