Recently we have started taking our Art and Paint parties to Senior Communities. What a blessing it is to get to know and work with these wonderful people. There are many benefits to providing Art to seniors who are living in these communities:
Helps Relax and Reduces Depression and Anxiety
First I want to say every community we go to is wonderful. The staff is great and honestly cares about their residents. Still my heart goes out to their residents. While there are places they can garden, and play music, or get to spend some time in the serenity room, most will tell you they would rather be in their own home, they just can’t safely do so anymore. My heart goes out to them. Yet when we walk in with our art supplies, I love the way their entire face lights up. It does my heart good and I know I am doing something right in this world. Art is something we never really get too old to do. No matter what the skill level, it is always a good time and relaxing.
Provides a Sense of Control
I believe one of the main things residents miss the most is feeling like they have a sense of control over what they do. Either on how they spend their time, making their bodies do what they want to do, or even just remember things the way they used to. They feel a loss of control over their lives and themselves. While we do offer instruction for those who want or need it, we encourage our students to make their art project their own. They have control on making this whatever they want it to be.
Assists in Socialization
It is really fun to see the excitement as they make their way to our class asking their friends as they go, “Are you coming to art class?” Art class is something they can make their own while still sharing the experience with others. We have a party every where we go.
“A picture is worth a thousand words” became a reality when a stately gentleman diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease showed his peers at the day care center a collage he had made from small scraps of colored construction paper that were then glued onto a larger piece of construction paper in an expressive arts session. Prior to that experience, he would silently sit in the back of the art room, observing and listening as others shared their work. When asked whether he wanted to say anything about the collage he had made or whether he wanted to give it a title, he told the group members that the title said it all: “A Scattered, Shattered Life.” Group members nodded in validation, quietly expressing their empathy. While this story makes me a little sad, I feel it was a great way for this wonderful gentleman to express his feelings in a productive way that his peers could understand.
Encourages Playfulness and a Sense of Humor
I love it when our students get silly. I’m a pretty silly person naturally and encourage the party atmosphere where we dance along with the music as we create art. Seeing them relax and let go just having fun is one of my favorite parts of my job.
To sum it up, art is for everyone. Sometimes creating art, while listening to music, being silly and playful, in a relaxed atmosphere where you have control over your project and can express yourself, is all the therapy you need. Please call us at Artherapy Studios to see how we can bring the FUN to you. Check us out at our website www.artherapystudios.com or call us 314-249-2800. We look forward to your call.