Two nonprofit leaders collaborate through the arts to highlight the emotional journey of family caregivers

Ann Bailey and Deb Taylor share their art to build awareness

Artwork by Deb Taylor / Provided by DARTS

Ann Bailey, President of DARTS, and Deb Taylor, CEO of Senior Community Services, have joined forces on a poignant project shedding light on the profound experience of losing a parent to Alzheimer’s. This collaborative effort aims to highlight the emotional journey of caregivers and the crucial role of support services offered by their respective organizations across the Twin Cities area.

At the heart of this collaboration lies Ann Bailey’s evocative poem, “Kaleidoscope,” a heartfelt reflection on the emotions and challenges surrounding caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. Complementing the essence of the poem, Deb Taylor created two pieces of artwork that capture and express the sentiments encapsulated within Bailey’s verses.

Through this unique fusion of poetry and art, Bailey and Taylor aim to amplify awareness of the demanding realities of caring for aging loved ones, especially those with Alzheimer’s or other cognitive decline. They seek to underscore the vital support services both organizations provide to caregivers navigating the complexities of caring for aging loved ones.

Alzheimer’s takes a toll not only on the individuals affected but also on their families and caregivers,” remarked Ann Bailey. “Through ‘Kaleidoscope,’ we aim to shed light on these often-overlooked aspects, foster empathy and understanding, and raise awareness for millions of family caregivers.”

Deb Taylor underscored her enthusiasm about the collaboration, stating, “Art is a powerful way of expressing emotions. These pieces are a visual representation of the emotional journey depicted in Ann’s beautiful poem.”

Kaleidoscope by Ann Bailey

Looking through the little tube, I saw my father looking back at me.
That wonderful grin, easy laugh, and bright blue eyes,
The man who watched over me.

Click. The kaleidoscope shifts.

My dad’s a little forgetful now, relying more on me. Yes, I can help keep track of your bills. Sure, I can come home for a bit.  Did you start a fire without opening the flue?

But he keeps up with life: “love the Pack, the Mayor is nuts, glad the Republicans are taking care of things.”

Click. The kaleidoscope shifts.

“I can go to Iraq and help those guys. Why won’t they let a veteran drive? What do you mean that’s my golf ball?”

Click. Click. Click. The kaleidoscope shifts. I look through the glass and see so many things that are the same. But so many other things have changed.

Still, I see the kindly man, that easy grin and those blue eyes watching over me. Click.

Then one day the picture is fully distorted. No, you can’t fight City Hall. Yes, the war that put you here must have been terrible. Click, the kaleidoscope shifts.

Where is my dear old dad? Click. He’s gone further from me. Click. I see you laugh, watch you dance, click, and there your big blues eyes smile kindly at me.

Click. You still help others. Click. Thanks for walking with me, Dad. Click. Yes, I am your daughter—you have two. Click. Yes, you were married. Click. The kaleidoscope shifts. Click, click, click.

I stare through the glass. There’s not much left that once was. But in the center there still are those big blue eyes and easy smile. Click, click…not again. The kaleidoscope shifts.

One day the glass falls to the ground. All that was is gone. I cry and look to the heavens to ask why…

And click. I see my dad in that sky as blue as his eyes; in the dew twinkling on the grass, like my Daddy-o’s grin. He is whole again.

So, dance without care, care about others, and laugh easily. Click. You just don’t know when the kaleidoscope shifts.

Artwork by Deb Taylor, inspired by Kaleidoscope

Artwork by Deb Taylor

The joint project between DARTS and Senior Community Services serves as a rallying call to the community, encouraging support, empathy, and understanding for those caring for an aging person. Both organizations are committed to providing invaluable assistance and resources to caregivers, ensuring they receive the support needed during these challenging times.

To support caregiver services during this season of giving, please visit

About DARTS:

Since 1974, nonprofit DARTS has served older adults, their families, and caregivers in the southeast metro. Their mission is to create connections that enrich aging and vision to provide equitable solutions that reflect diverse community needs work to empower independence as we age.

About Senior Community Services:

Founded in 1950, Senior Community Services is a nonprofit with a mission to empower people as they age and a vision to reimagine aging by serving compassionately, connecting communities, and supporting independence.