Art project a big hit at de­men­tia care home

Caernarfon Herald - - CELTIC ROYAL WEDDING FAYRE -

AGROUND- BREAK­ING art project is help­ing to cut through the fog of de­men­tia at a care home in Caernar­fon.

Res­i­dents at Pen­dine Park’s Bryn Seiont Newydd care home, on the out­skirts of the town, are tak­ing part in Age Cymru’s flag­ship cARTrefu pro­gramme.

The aim of the scheme be­ing funded by the Arts Coun­cil of Wales, the Welsh Gov­ern­ment and the Bar­ing Foun­da­tion, is to en­cour­age and cel­e­brate cre­ativ­ity in older peo­ple.

The 12-week project has been a big hit with res­i­dents at Bryn Seiont Newydd, which spe­cialises in de­men­tia care.

Bryn Seiont Newydd’s artistin-res­i­dence, Nia Lloyd-Roberts, said: “It has been ex­cel­lent. The fact that the project is be­ing run over 12 weeks has meant we have had an op­por­tu­nity to play with dif­fer­ent ideas which has stim­u­lated con­ver­sa­tion with res­i­dents and in­volved them work­ing to­gether.

“I have seen res­i­dents be­come calmer, less dis­tracted and more oc­cu­pied.

“I’m hop­ing it will help us re­duce chal­leng­ing be­hav­iour and help res­i­dents re­main calm.

“It’s also lovely to see res­i­dents sing­ing along with each other while they work on their art projects.”

“It’s been an un­doubted suc­cess and I’m glad I ap­plied to take part.

“It’s helped me think about de­liv­er­ing art projects in a dif­fer­ent way which will ben­e­fit our res­i­dents.”

Project leader Kelly Barr ex­plained: “So far we have worked with 156 care homes but Pen­dine Park is the first care or­gan­i­sa­tion we have found that ac­tu­ally has an artist in res­i­dence, which is just amaz­ing and so re­fresh­ing.

“The project has worked in­cred­i­bly well and we can point to the sta­tis­ti­cally proven im­pact art has had on the gen- eral well-be­ing of both care home res­i­dents and the staff car­ing for them.

“We have 12 artists work­ing on the project across Wales. The artists work in dif­fer­ent medi­ums; some are dance artists, some painters, film mak­ers or pho­tog­ra­phers.

“We even have a type writer artist! Here at Bryn Seiont Newydd we are mak­ing prints us­ing leaves. The ses­sion is all about en­cour­ag­ing staff to get in­volved.”

Per­form­ing dance artist Dym­phna D’arcy, who was work­ing with her men­tor, Amer­i­can/Welsh artist Deb­o­rah Withey at the work­shop, said: “I’m mix­ing the type of art I’m work­ing on at dif­fer­ent ses­sions.

“I’m pre­dom­i­nately a dance artist but I can work in mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary medi­ums.

“It’s amaz­ing how the res­i­dents, even those with ad­vanced de­men­tia, en­joy the art work and clearly gain a great deal from it. I have re­ally en­joyed the whole project.”

Deb­o­rah added: “It’s so re­fresh­ing to see Pen­dine Park em­ploys not only an artist in res­i­dence but a mu­si­cian, too. That is just so for­ward think­ing and won­der­ful to see.”

The ses­sions are go­ing down a treat with res­i­dent Mil­li­cent Fos­ter, who said: “I re­ally en­joy it and press­ing leaves to make pic­tures has been good. We are al­ways do­ing some­thing whether it’s play­ing bingo or lis­ten­ing to mu­sic. I used to do a lot of knit­ting, but I can’t do it any­more be­cause my hands and fin­gers are stiff. But I like work­ing with my friends to make some­thing that looks nice.”

Fel­low res­i­dent Daphne Egan said: “It’s in­ter­est­ing and nice to see what we make. I’m not a tal­ented artist but it’s nice to be guided and shown how to do some­thing dif­fer­ent.

“I don’t think I could do some­thing like this on my own to be hon­est. I like to sing while we are do­ing the art work. Songs like Danny Boy or Abba songs like Danc­ing Queen.”

Bryn Seiont Newydd man­ager San­dra Evans said: “The cARTrefu project is a per­fect fit for the way we work at Pen­dine Park be­cause the arts pro­vide the golden thread through ev­ery­thing we do.

“We are pas­sion­ate about us­ing the arts, whether vis­ual or mu­si­cal, to en­rich the lives of our res­i­dents and staff alike.

“That’s why we set up the Pen­dine Arts and Com­mu­nity Trust to sup­port cul­tural pur­suits and com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties so we can spread the mes­sage about the value of the arts.”

● Bryn Seiont Newydd res­i­dents en­joy an art project run by Age Cymru. Above: Pen­dine’s Nia Lloyd and Kelly Barr (Cartrefi Project Co-or­di­na­tor) ad­mire fruit made from re­cy­cled pa­per cups with Daphne Eagan and Owenna Jones; right, carer An­gela Wil­liams and Kelly Barr work with An­nie Peers. Pic­tures: JANE WIDDOWSON

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