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Swarthmore celebrates alongside NAPA National Day of Arts in Care Homes

29th September

Arts in Care Homes and the National Day of Arts in Care Homes is an initiative by NAPA and funded for five years by The Baring Foundation and The Rayne Foundation. It acts as a central hub for delivery of arts and creative activities in care homes. This years campaign is the Year of Creativity; to support the care sector prioritising creativity with the aim of improving psychological and social well-being.

Art and music often go hand in hand and music is an excellent way to bring art to life and create a stimulating experience for residents.

Recommended activities such as gardening is a multi-sensory activity. Being outdoors, is stimulating as we all know as we age, we spend more time indoors. A simple action as picking up a trowel opens a whole array or smells, sights and sounds and memories.

Encouraging residents to participate in activities can be challenging. We share information about the activities on a weekly basis, through our activity schedule which is delivered to all residents at the beginning of each week. It is also available to view or download on our website - or facebook. Our activities co-ordinators Anne Marie and Tina discuss topics with our residents to encourages them to participate. Talking about activities promotes conversation and can also help reduce anxiety. As we all age, our sight and hearing can change so it’s important to account for any changes so we can support everyone’s needs. Our activities team understand the likes and dislikes of all our residents so they can introduce topics to include everyone. Finding a hidden talent or enjoying something new can be so rewarding for everyone involved.

Being creative, from a sensory point of view opens up a window to carry out art activities that engage the thought process. This may include using their hands. Arts and Crafts allow us to express our inner feelings and create some amazing pieces of art.

Ann Marie and Tina provide opportunities on a weekly basis ranging from poetry, crafts, performing musicians, dancing, singing, painting and much more. Read on to explore the activities available:

Swarthmore Singers – Singing allows us to increase your immunity and gives the brain and lungs a good workout.

Arts and Crafts – Creative artwork using recycled products to create some beautiful pictures.  Button art – designing dresses with buttons. Creating pictures with decorative stones. Residents recently expressed they would like to create a weekly art group so they could draw, sketch and paint together. Each week they choose a different theme and sketch away. We have some very talented people. So far, they have created a portfolio of self-portraits, abstract art, wildlife, a coastal peninsula and much more…

Fired Works recently came along to Swarthmore and created some handmade fused glass art which consisted of soap dishes, keyrings and ornaments. Certain crafts are beneficial for the elderly, research shows that they have a lower risk of developing mild cognitive impairment. Crafts are a great way to keep your brain stimulated and enhance cognitive abilities.

Poetry – One of our resident’s daughters continues to volunteer reading poetry with our residents which is thoroughly enjoyed. Some of residents have expressed they never used to like poetry. Since sitting in one session, they now look forward to these sessions.

Days out – our yearly boat trip on the river in Henley - The weather was amazing which meant the river was busy with youngsters swimming in the river, lots of boats passing through the lock and people enjoying a picnic at the side of the river. Residents were able to take in the beautiful views of the countryside. Lots of memories for everyone, conversation flowed between residents and staff. Chatting about wildlife, beautiful properties, and fond memories. A day out in the countryside is just what was needed before Autumn begins!

Musicians – Andrew our pianist always seems to provide a relaxing afternoon whilst enjoying the music. This naturally inspires our residents to dance or sing. Turf Tappers helped us celebrate 75 years at Swarthmore music played from all the years. A recent visit from an accordionist; a new experience for some. These are just some examples of how our residents enjoy their day.

Cookery – peppermint creams, eton mess, banana split – afternoon delights to enjoy with a cup of tea

iPad Technology - live streaming arts – ballets, virtual tours of countries, shows and singalongs. Visiting various countries in the comfort of an armchair is one of our residents favourite. They end the tours discussing past holidays and favourite areas. It’s a trip down memory lane for everyone.

Flower arranging – arranging vases for the home. Flowers around the home help concentration and increase cognitive performance. Residents can feel and smell the flowers as they arrange the flowers to suit their mood. They can also view the flowers as they move around the home during the day, appreciating their displays. We have tried all sorts of creations recently. It brings back lots of memories for some who used to help decorate their local churches.

Cultures – exploring traditional dress, language and tasting food. An afternoon spent with a talk on Pakistan by one of our Senior Carer’s which covered traditions such as henna painting, cultural food and wedding traditions.

Art takes on many forms, our care team step in whilst carrying out day to day care, this can be on a one-to-one basis, they all have different qualities to share. Stepping into a resident’s room can also open up a different type of art, this can involve a trip down memory lane whilst looking at a photograph. Memories often generate emotions!

Let us help unleash your imagination and inspire confidence. All the above are adaptable projects that you could do with a grandparent, friend, for example. They also help build relationships and ignite a purpose for people as it’s something to look forward to. You don’t need special skills to enjoy these expressive activities.

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