Submitted by: Senior Solstice Living

Art is one of the most popular and successful activities and therapies at senior living communities. It brings so many benefits, it’s difficult to count them.

According to the Senior Living Federation of America, some of the many benefits of art-related activities for seniors include:

  • promoting self-awareness
  • relieving stress, anxiety and confusion through a sense of empowerment
  • improving motor skills
  • improving cognitive skills
  • helping to cope with transitions
  • facilitating communication

Solstice Senior Living is very fortunate to have artist Caroline Yaude as one of their residents and even more fortunate that she offered to teach painting classes to the other residents.

Photo courtesy: Solstice Senior Living

Every Friday, after a healthy balanced breakfast in the dining room, Caroline sets up her tabletop easels in the activity room and begins instructing several of her fellow residents the fine art of painting with acrylics. Each session runs 10 weeks, starting with a beginner’s class and progressing to an advanced class.

“It was an eye-opening experience for me,” said Bill H., 74, “I’ve painted before, but never knew that you didn’t have to use black paint for a blackbird. Caroline showed me how to mix a few colors together to create the illusion of black with blue highlights that made all the difference in how my blackbird came out on canvas.”

Owen C., 93, took all three 10-week classes and signed his final masterpiece Van Gowen, combining his newfound talent with his sense of humor.

Caroline raised five children with her husband of 51 1/2 years, Walt. They traveled the world and made their home in the Virgin Islands, where Caroline taught watercolor and acrylics. In 1976, Caroline became an Elementary Guidance Counselor at Roosevelt Elementary in Bellingham and a classroom teacher at Parkview Elementary, before her retirement in 1988.

Photo courtesy: Solstice Senior Living

Caroline’s talent and her willingness to share that gift with her fellow residents has been a welcome addition to all the other creative activities offered at Solstice Senior Living. A choir practices every Tuesday, and then lines the balcony and sings before lunch, writing groups that share “A Moment In Time,” knitting and quilting circles that create items for non-profits, Silver Sneakers, and so much more to keep our senior’s minds and bodies engaged.

According to studies, creative activities, such as writing, painting, or knitting, encourage a sense of competence, purpose, and growth—all of which contribute to aging well.

“We know intuitively that art and creativity can dramatically improve older people’s quality of life and health,” says Gay Hanna, Ph.D., Executive Director, Society for the Arts in Healthcare (SAH).

The latest research supports Hanna’s observation: the arts can keep you healthy. Creative activities like painting, writing, pottery, drama, singing, and storytelling raise self-esteem, increase enthusiasm for life, and result in fewer doctor visits, fewer incidents of depression, create higher morale and a sense of purpose.

You will find this and more at Solstice Senior Living. Independent living with peace of mind!

Solstice Senior Living
2818 Old Fairhaven Parkway
Bellingham, WA  98225

All photos courtesy: Solstice Senior Living

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