Many of you may know him as “Uncle Junior” on the hit HBO TV Series The Sopranos, but in the long term care community, we can begin to recognize Hollywood star Dominic Chianese as a true quality care champion. Chianese, who is currently cast in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and starred in The Godfather Part II, Dog Day Afternoon, and All the President’s Men, among other films, visited the AHCA/NCAL offices last week to promote his foundation, Joy Through Art. Chianese has always been a long term care advocate, and told AHCA/NCAL staff about his experiences as a young child visiting the “poor homes” in New York. In these homes, Chianese later found his calling – bringing people joy through acting, singing, and entertainment. Inspired by the emotional reaction of the residents to his interactive performances, Chianese decided to dedicate much of his personal time to performing and promoting the arts in skilled nursing care centers through the Joy Through Art foundation.
Joy Through Art strives to improve the quality of life for residents in skilled nursing care centers through regular interaction with performers. Because residents are typically unable to travel outside of their facilities to attend events, Chianese and his partner performers bring the stage to the residents. The Joy Through Art foundation hires professional artists to visit patients and residents on a regular basis. The routine interaction with art, music, and acting, coupled with the participatory atmosphere, allows residents to feel the support of their community and engage in vibrant activities.