I just finished presenting at a local Conference for Recreational Therapists. I presented on Therapeutic Art with Seniors. Working day to day with Seniors diagnosed with Dementia is not an easy task, yet this group came together to share their experiences and learn more about how to increase creative programming into their senior care facilities. Laura Booi who is finishing her Doctorate at Simon Fraser also spoke about Global Attitudes impacting Dementia care. There is such stigma surrounding Dementia that impedes individuals getting the support they need, more research is needed around Dementia, which will impact all our families at some point in our future.
My focus on that day was on creating Age Appropriate Therapeutic Art for Seniors. So often art programs working with seniors becomes "preschool art". Childlike, cutsie, and simplistic, it so often (to me) belittles the rich histories and life experiences these seniors have lived through. My goals in my work with seniors has been to create what I term "Simple Sophistication", this is art that takes into account their long held beliefs and reactions to art and art making, and incorporates increasing art appreciation. It doesn't make the projects harder, but they are created in a way that honours the adults they are and the limitations they face.
It has been an interesting two years working at a local senior residence, with such amazing results beyond the creativity. We have seen so many positive outcomes from this adventure: increased alertness, increased communication, ability to stay present longer, remembering their projects and revisiting projects afterwards, increased socialization over the projects, wonderful intrinsic outcomes like boosts in self-esteem, confidence, happiness, and contentment. We watched them move from being tentative to fully engaged and excited about projects. So so many positives.... one day I will have to write a book. We've done such wonderful projects and had such wonderful connections through them.
Art Making is changing their brain!
Here are a few simple samples of some we've done...each have 3 levels incorporated into them.
"Outside the Canvas" is the bits and pieces of my eclectic musings, my work, poetry...and hopefully, some interesting discoveries I make as an artist shred along the way. I'll try to keep it short and sweet, since my son pointed out "nobody wants to reads blog novels Mom".