Mar 13, 2024

Art therapy benefits show you’re never too old to embrace creativity

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TriCare Mt Gravatt residents Rita (L) and Margaret (R) have embraced their artistic talents, enjoying the social connections it has produced. [Source: Supplied]

Queensland aged care residents are channelling their inner Picasso as TriCare’s Mt Gravatt Aged Care Residence embraces art therapy as a way to keep its talented residents social and creative.

Art therapy is a proven winner in residential aged care settings as it stimulates the brain and provides an emotional outlet. But it can be daunting to pick up a paintbrush or pencil if you don’t have a natural artistic flair.

That hasn’t stopped TriCare residents from participating in weekly art sessions alongside their talented neighbours with residents of all abilities embracing their creativity and growing their social circles. It’s a perfect opportunity to connect with friends, new or old, and families. 

Rita Herman, 82, has turned into a celebrity after showcasing her designs throughout the home, with her newfound love of beading keeping her entertained for hours. 

“I love taking the time out of my day to sit and focus on my artwork. I could spend hours painting or beading and not realise the amount of time that has gone by,” she said.

The weekly sessions are run by volunteer art instructor, Joye Noon, who has always appreciated art’s ability to provide a meaningful emotional experience. Ms Noon said her personal experiences continue to inspire her passion to this day, and she’ll often be brought to tears when she sees completed masterpieces.

“My father loved art and always did,” Joye said. “It was something we loved to do together, even when he moved into aged care before he passed away. Volunteering at TriCare helps me feel close to him and like I’m giving back to those that need it,” she said.

“There’s something so heart-warming about watching the residents dedicate so much time and energy into their art and having it all come together.”

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A selection of artworks proudly displayed on the home’s walls. [Source: Supplied]

According to Ms Noon, some residents had never picked up a paintbrush or pencil in their lives and were as surprised as everyone else about their natural talent.

One late bloomer is Margaret Whannell, 89, who started taking part in the sessions when her husband’s health started to decline. She said their time being creative was a meaningful way to interact and bond despite his growing communication challenges.

“My husband, William, used to always cut my patterns and help me with my art back in the day, so he gets very excited when I bring in my finished artworks to show him – it’s nice for him to still feel included.”

“These sessions also allow me to take time for myself each week and do something I really enjoy. My mental wellbeing has improved so much since I started.”

With so many residents participating in weekly art sessions, TriCare’s Mt Gravatt home quickly turned into an art gallery with countless pieces lining the corridors. It’s a clear sign that you’re never too old to try something new, especially something creative. 

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