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Arts in Care Homes – Reflections

It’s the 5th year of NAPA’s current Arts in Care Homes programme, which highlights the important role of arts engagement and cultural participation in care provision.  This year’s theme is Drawing on Memories.  

Art is inspired from happy memories. Memories can be expressed in the form of drawings, poems, songs or drama. Memories can be about post events such as a wedding, certain scents, a holiday or a favourite meal someone used to make.

Tactile Art – Using textured materials for anyone suffering from macular degeneration or blindness. Sensory art by feeling or touching different textures is a wonderful way to help stimulate memories. Whether you provide a mixture of materials representing various textures or scents. Perfumes, fruits or food can easily bring back memories. Both touch and smell together represent interaction from different areas of the brain. We used different materials such as sponge, velvet and cotton for example, which was an enjoyable experience for one of our residents at 108 years old. It can create a wonderful conversation.

Sensory reflections can be aimed at one-to-one person centred care, which is ideal for anyone with impaired senses or likes their own company. Swarthmore residents explored different aspects of art using many different materials. Ann Marie ensured that everyone who wanted to take part was able to.  

Origami – residents made paper boats with Anne Park during an afternoon craft session. Origami needs a degree of concentration; at the same time, it creates fun when everyone looks at the different shapes that have evolved. It’s also a good test for our motor skills, with practice this is a good example to show improvements with many things.

Sketching our fondest memories – our residents chose to reminisce and draw their wedding day, flying for the first time, packing a car to go on holiday, relaxing in the garden. They sat and sketched whilst chatting about their life and past experiences. A wonderful way to spend the afternoon, a great way to share memories.

Lipsticks – The art of make-up. Mary loved to wear make-up in her earlier years. We had an afternoon trying different colours as we helped her experiment with the choices available. Manicures and hand massages using different scents are both relaxing and sensory. Who doesn’t enjoy a little pamper session!

Other projects that Swarthmore residents have encountered whilst celebrating special days during the past month have been International Lighthouse Day. Made from pringle tubes, battery operated candle lights and coloured card. This project needed lots of concentration and creativity, the result was amazing.  Decorating pictures of hats and covering them with a creation of embellished jewels and feathers.

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