An Evening for Care Partners

Elderwise is offering a Care Partners Night on Wednesday November 29th from 6:30-8:30pm! This new quarterly event will be a time of appreciation for all the hard work care partners, family and friends put into supporting loved ones with memory loss.  We at Elderwise would like to provide a space for all of you to experience the therapeutic art, guided discussion and the camaraderie that Elderwise is known for. 

At our November event, Staff Facilitator Hillary Patterson, LMFTA will lead a discussion on Coping and Self Care for Caregivers. Katie Freeman, Program Coordinator, will show you the basics of wet-on-wet watercolor techniques and help you express your own creative side.  Come hungry for homemade baked goods and tea! rsvp to

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Elderwise on KOMO Radio

Click below to hear this sweet radio interview with Elderwise artist and participant featured in the exhibit at City Hall.

February 17: The Art of Alzheimer's Panel Discussion, "Art, Creativity, and Dementia"

From 6 - 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 17, join the Art of Alzheimer's and for a dynamic panel presentation exploring Art, Creativity and Dementia including Cara Lauer as a panelist . Consider how living with dementia can unleash our creative spark, learn about ways that the creative arts can improve our well-being, and discover local options for dementia-friendly arts engagement. Free and open to the public. Seattle City Hall Bertha Landes Room, 600 4th Ave, First Floor. For more information, please visit

Panelists include: Marigrace Becker, Program Manager of Community Education & Impact, UW Medicine Memory & Brain Wellness Center

Lee Burnside, Clinical Assistant Professor, Geriatrics & Palliative Care, Harborview Medical Center

Cara Lauer, Executive Director, Elderwise

Alice & Paul Padilla, Momentia Ambassadors

Moderator: Wendy Lustbader, MSW, Author of "Life Gets Better - The Unexpected Pleasures of Growing Older"

Elderwise on King 5 News

In honor of The Artist Within exhibition at Seattle City Hall, reporter Chris Daniels came to Elderwise to see where much of the art on exhibit was created. Check out this link to see us featured on the news!  

Elderwise Collaborates with the Frye Art Museum and the Alzheimer’s Association of Western and Central Washington

Elderwise collaboration with the Frye Art MuseumIn October 2009, Elderwise, The Frye Art Museum and The Alzheimer’s Association of Western and Central Washington embarked on a journey to work together to create a program similar to that of the Meet Me at MOMA program at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The goal was to welcome people with dementia into the Frye Art Museum for a facilitated museum experience and a studio art experience. The Frye Museum here:now program is now up and running. It provides social and creative opportunities, intellectual stimulation and personal satisfaction for persons with dementia and their care partners.

We are happy to have participated in the development of the here:now program and our Adult Day Center Director Tamara Keefe continues to be integrally involved in the program and in creating the artistic studio experience.

Elderwise working with senior at the Frye Art Museum

Educational Opportunities

Educational Opportunities at Elderwise fall into two categories:

  • The Elderwise Philosophy and
  • Conscious Aging

Elderwise began in 1997 with a set of new, untested ideas that rang true to us. We set about testing them in our day program. Fifteen years later, they have been proven and fine-tuned from the experience of running our adult day and outreach programs. In 2006, as interest in our approach grew, we began teaching parts of the philosophy including such topics as:

  • Who are you if you have Dementia?
  • The Developmental Psychology of Aging
  • The Twelve Senses
  • Working with the Whole Person

We are currently taking a one year sabbatical from teaching in order to capture these ideas in writing. Our goal is to share this philosophy with a greater number of health care professionals and personal partners.

Conscious Aging at Elderwise

Conscious Aging at Elderwise is based on the ideas of Rabbi Zalmon Schachter-Shalomi, founder of the Spiritual Eldering Institute, now transformed into the Sage-ing® Guild. These ideas are for all those interested in reflecting on their own aging.

Elderwise hosts monthly facilitated conversations on aging for the Northwest Center for Creative Aging. Participants engage in conversations about their own aging and what they are discovering about their lives. Reservations are required; please contact Jan Frederick (, Executive Director for the Northwest Center for Creative Aging, to reserve a spot or find out more information.

For more information on the teaching programs, please contact Sandy Sabersky (

The Elderwise Way

Happy to be together…naturally. Elderwise - Sharing a mealPeople began arriving a little before 10 am. Les came in first and focused on the table settings and where the nametags were placed, commenting with an air of expectation about the number of people who would soon be arriving. When Ben arrived next, Les welcomed him, showing him his place and pulling out his chair for him. They chatted together about who was coming and where they would all sit. As more people arrived, they were each welcomed by those already at the table. They were served coffee or tea, and peanut butter toast with jam, as they continued to talk about where the late comers were, and were clearly happy and reassured as the table gradually filled up. The feeling of genuine contentment surrounded the group when we were all accounted for at the table and our community was full for the day.

Later in the morning a visitor arrived to pick up her husband’s paintings who was not known to most of the people. When she entered, one of the gentlemen stood to shake her hand and welcome her, and then another did the same thing, followed by a third.

Our daily regular activities create the consistent, compassionate, welcoming environment that contributes to the joy and shared camaraderie of being together.

The 2011 Annual Art Auction

Elderwise Art Auction 2011 - reviewing the artworkYou can feel the excitement in the air as the time approaches for our annual art auction, when Elderwise participants and staff members each donate paintings for the auction. This year our paintings were lovingly matched with used frames rehabbed for the occasion and enhanced with matting and color backing by our board secretary, Jeanette Ruby. In addition the artist biography was not only on a poster displayed at the auction, but was professionally attached to the backs of each painting. The Elderwise staff, board and volunteers worked hard to arrange the paintings artistically, set up the bid sheets for the silent auction, and create a beautiful sit down buffet. Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker, Director of the Frye Art Museum, speaks on "Living a Legacy and Serving the Community" at the 2011 Elderwise Art AuctionWe were overjoyed that Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker, director of the Frye Art Museum agreed to be our keynote speaker. As always, Jo-Anne gave a heartfelt talk that truly inspired us on the importance of making art an interactive experience for the whole community and her words are backed by the many programs the Frye Art Museum has available for the community.

Elderwise participants are the stars at the art auction. They bring their family members and show off their art work and the beautiful cards made from scans of their paintings. They celebrate with other participants and their families, and see people gladly pay appreciative money for their art works. We thank all those who attended the auction and who bought paintings to support the Elderwise mission.

Move to Horizon House

Elderwise moved to its new home in Horizon House one year ago. Being welcomed into the Horizon House Community marked an important step for Elderwise: we are now associated with a well-respected organization, increasing the sustainability for our non-profit.

Elderwise at Horizon HouseElderwise moves to Horizon-House

This move provides us stability for our progressive ideas about working with the frail elder. It supports us while we continue to enrich the field of aging in our Adult Day Center located inside of Horizon House and provides a foundation for our outreach programs in the greater Seattle area, and through our educational programs in the communities beyond.