From painting pictures and shaping sculptures, to musical moments and thought-provoking theatre, older people at Belong happily enjoy the arts as part of their everyday experiences in the dementia specialist’s care. Now, the residents have been embracing the latest initiative, making new creations to mark the National Day of Arts in Care Homes.
For this year’s ‘Field of Flowers’ theme, those residing in the not-for-profit organisation’s villages have been supported to express their ideas in a number of different ways. Whilst some customers have been collaborating to make their town’s biggest-ever floral display wall piece, others invited their families and communities to bring an ambitious display of thousands of floral fingerprints to fruition. Another took the opportunity to pay their last respects by creating collages in tribute to Her late Majesty The Queen. Local schoolchildren have also been welcomed for intergenerational partnerships for the occasion.
Belong Chief Operating Officer, Sue Goldsmith, explains more: “The arts form a big part of our experience programme for our customers. The advantages of using creative expression for meaningful occupation is that everyone can take part, whatever their ability, and it provides sensory-rich experiences with a sense of purpose and achievement for the creator.”
Promoted by the National Activity Providers Association (NAPA), the National Day of Arts in Care Homes is funded by The Baring Foundation and The Rayne Foundation, and is designed to encourage and champion arts engagement in care settings, highlighting the wellbeing benefits for all involved.
The initiative complements Belong’s care strategy, advocating an active later life for its customers, which also includes health and fitness planning with in-house exercise specialists, and opportunities to network with schools and businesses and be involved in community projects and events. Its ongoing four-year relationship with Bluecoat, Liverpool’s contemporary arts centre, for example, has seen a number of positive wellbeing outcomes recognised by academics as renowned artists work alongside Belong’s customers in their homes.
Sue Goldsmith continues: “It’s been wonderful participating in National Day of Arts in Care Homes. Though the arts are already well-embedded in our approach to care, we’ve enjoyed having the opportunity to share in this national event and our customers loved bringing this year’s theme to life.
“Whether it’s the engagement in an activity, the pleasure of watching a performer, or the sharing of creative ideas with schoolchildren, we know that the arts play an important role in enhancing lives by increasing self-esteem and engendering a strong sense of belonging.”