I have a mobile trolley. There is no rattle and clink of pill bottles and medications, but it is stacked with colours, textures, sounds and smells. It is a vehicle of motivation, inspiration and hope.
My aim is to change the mindset of people who feel that creativity belongs exclusively to the 'talented and gifted' members of society.
We are all creative in some way, from cooking, gardening or carpentry to choosing the colours we live with and the clothes we wear. We deserve the opportunity to express ourselves - for health's sake. Unfortunately, many people are denied this, sometimes due to mental and physical limitations, but often because of a lack of available resources, guidance and self-confidence.
The creative arts programs that I design are suitable for implementation in educational, healthcare and community outreach environments. The philosophy and structure underpinning these programs align with the values and ethics of contemporary healthcare and community services. Using an empathic design approach, the programs are fully customisable from concept and development, through to the facilitation and testing stages. It takes observation, understanding and immersion in the culture and values of the client/organisation and their staff or residents. This helps to ensure the program design and delivery will provide the best possible experience for the end-user.
The programs are grounded in extensive research on art and dementia, but can be adapted to accommodate a broad range of healthcare issues and community requirements.
These professionally designed programs go beyond the typical art and craft activities offered in community settings. They provide quality materials and challenging activities appropriate for the relevant cognitive and physical capabilities of the individual or group. This allows exciting opportunities for learning new life skills.
Disadvantaged and minority groups especially benefit from the social interaction, connection and communication. This often encourages a sense of belonging and purpose.
My research found the carefully constructed activities, which explored self-discovery and self-expression, fostered self-esteem, self-confidence and self-acknowledgement.
The programs are designed for enjoyment, pleasure and inclusiveness, but have the potential to empower the individual with autonomy and voice - which ultimately leads to the emotional health and wellbeing of individuals.
If you are wanting to implement an arts program to promote wellbeing in your nursing home, school or workplace, I'd love to discuss your idea.
Feel free to contact me for more info.
You can read about my research findings on art and dementia here.