What else could be better than taking time out of the day to enjoy a little arts and crafts? The residents enjoyed a creative morning activity. Just like the benefits of music for memory, art has a positive impact on Alzheimer’s with improved feelings emotionally and physically.
According to best-alzheimers-products.com, “Art provides a way to reach inside ourselves, to put on paper or some other medium, a representation of thoughts and feelings that we may not be able to express in any other way. By allowing the individual with Alzheimer’s to communicate using emotional and creative centers of the brain, rather than logical and memory centers, it will become less obvious that he or she is even affected by the disease.”
Our Quality of Life Director, Katie Rinehimer, organized a canvas painting activity with the residents at our Indian Hills home. We brought over a few other residents from one of our other homes to enjoy the activity as well.
We had six mini table top easels, paint, and brushes ready for each resident. The setup was much like those “paint and sip” parties that have become popular where for a couple hours a coffee shop offers a coffee and a painting class or a restaurant offers wine and the painting class. The residents enjoyed a hot cup of tea and fine chocolates during their special painting party.
We encouraged them to paint whatever they wanted and use their creativity, but some just didn’t know what to do and lacked that little bit of inspiration they needed.
“Well what should I paint,” said one resident.
“Why don’t you paint a sun? Here is a circle, now you can fill that in and put squiggly lines around it for a sun?” suggested a caregiver.
“What color should I use? Red or ahhh maybe yellow?” said one resident.
“If you think about it, the sun does have red in it at times. Think of it as a sunset and you sure could paint that with a little red,” said a caregiver.
The ladies had fun; lots of smiles and a joke here and there. It reminded me of my high school art classes when everyone was so hard on their work and the teacher just had to encourage everyone that art isn’t perfect and that’s the beauty of it.
“You’re fine, you did great!” said one of the caregivers, reassuring her art is not perfect and it doesn’t have to be.
“Now what? I gotta put something on this. There’s just so much white,” said another resident about her canvas. “Well I really don’t know what to paint. It’s just too empty and there’s too much white.”
Once everyone was finished with their paintings, the joke of the morning was that everyone was going to fly to Paris with their works of art. Once they arrived they were going to go bring their paintings to The Louvre and get hung next to the Mona Lisa.
Art is such an important part of life and being creative shows a side of an individual that isn’t always apparent. It’s a time where personality can really shine.