Aged care residents embrace their inner Picasso with transformative art initiative

Mar 14, 2024
The initiative has sparked a creative renaissance, with residents eagerly embracing various mediums to express themselves. Source: Getty Images.

In a heartwarming display of creativity and community, TriCare’s Mt Gravatt Aged Care Residence has transformed into an art gallery, with corridors adorned by the works of talented residents.

Beyond mere decoration, these art sessions have become therapeutic outlets and social hubs, enriching the lives of both participants and observers alike.

Led by dedicated Lifestyle Team Member, Leonie Upton, weekly art sessions have become a staple, aiming to unearth the hidden talents akin to the legendary Vincent (or Vanessa) Van Gogh within the residence’s vibrant community.

The initiative has sparked a creative renaissance, with residents eagerly embracing various mediums to express themselves.

Among the budding artists is 82-year-old Rita Herman, whose passion for beading has made her a celebrity within the residence. Rita shares her joy in dedicating time to her craft, finding solace and fulfillment in each stroke or bead placed. Her creations, filled with love and care, adorn the walls, bringing smiles and admiration from fellow residents.

“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.

“I put a lot of love into my artwork, so seeing them displayed on the walls and having people appreciate them brings me such joy.”

Source: Supplied/ TriCare.

Volunteer art instructor, Joye Noon, finds herself moved to tears by the residents’ final masterpieces, reminiscing about her father’s love for art and their shared moments before his passing.

For Joye, volunteering at TriCare is a heartfelt tribute, allowing her to feel connected to her father while giving back to those in need.

“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.

“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.”

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

The transformative power of art is evident in residents like Margaret Whannell, who discovered the therapeutic benefits of creativity during challenging times.

For Margaret, art sessions became a means of communication and companionship with her ailing husband.

Source: Supplied/ TriCare.

Through painting alongside him, she found a way to connect beyond words, keeping their bond alive through shared creativity.

“He became unable to communicate verbally, so doing art beside him was a way to spend time together without having to talk,” she said.

“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.”

As the corridors of TriCare’s Mt Gravatt Aged Care Residence continue to bloom with creativity, it’s evident that art has become more than just decoration—it’s a source of joy, connection, and healing for all who call it home.

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