We were excited to be able to visit the Priory Mews Care Home a few weeks ago, to take part in their annual Care Home Open Day, which this year was themed Celebrating Art in Care. Well-being coordinator Ben contacted us and asked if we would like to be involved and we jumped at the chance to work with elderly patients, as some of our artists have worked with elderly people in the past and are aware of the rewarding outcomes which can be delivered through carefully curated process and art facilitation.
We engaged with a number of residents through both Storytelling and Transient Art; the process of connection and production being the key feature in this project. These methods were used deliberately, as people suffering from dementia often struggle with restrictive activities. We implicitly encouraged the residents to be free to tell their story in their own way, and to create self portraits using a variety of free moving objects on a board.
The experience was a joy for us as artists, with residents opening up about their lives through funny, engaging, inspiring and fascinating stories. As they chatted to our storyteller Caroline, Nadia filmed the process and sketched portraits of the individuals.
Meanwhile, at the parallel activity where residents were encouraged to create a self portrait, people such as Patricia and Bob were able to share their past experiences, chatting as they worked, the artistic activity sparking memories.
It was, overall, an immensely rewarding experience which we hope to repeat in the near future!