Classical guitar, theatre, storytelling, puppetry, dance and the visual arts are sadly not often associated with care and support for older people. Whilst lots of arts-based activity is becoming evident in the best care settings it is still far from being the norm.
Des Kelly OBE
was pleased to have been able to visit services in Helsinki for two days this week at the invitation of David Cutler, Director of The Baring Foundation and to join Janet Morrison, Chair of The Baring Foundation Arts Committee and Martin Green OBE, CEO of ECCA for a seminar organised by Osaattori.
"We visited two impressive Local Authority ‘Comprehensive Service Centers’ in Helsinki and met city officials, policymakers, academics, artists and managers of care facilities involved in the Osaattori arts project"
The aim of this ESF-funded project is to bring arts and culture to older people whilst improving employment prospects for artists.
"It was an inspiring and stimulating two days (and I will be producing a summary report of the event and visits). It is evident that Finland is leading the debate on the ways in which the full range of arts and culture can play a vital part in enhancing well-being and quality of life for older people - both in the community and in care settings."
The arts are contributing to improving integration and interdisciplinary working as well as shaping training for nurses and care workers.
Comments by care professionals working with older people convey some sense of the power art can make possible:
“Emotions came to the surface. It is surprisingly easy to use images of artistic works. I want to use them as a part of my work. It was a surprise how much the images we used revealed about each of us.”