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Arts, Crafts, and Long-term Care

Updated: Apr 5, 2022

Resident of Skyview Nursing Center, Cynthia Titus, shows off her art project she made during a Sip n' Paint activity

By: Ashley Strehl - Managing Editor of Digital and Print Publications

Remember when you were in elementary school, and the teacher would tell your class to gather at the table for arts and crafts? Do you remember how exciting it was to socialize with your classmates and create something?

That feeling doesn't go away when you grow up, it can transition long into adulthood, and can even be therapeutic to individuals living in a long-term care community.

In this week’s blog, we are going to talk about how arts and crafts can be used in long-term care as a form of therapy that can boost the morale and overall mental and physical well-being of the residents.

How Arts & Crafts Can Be Therapeutic for Residents Within Long-term Care

An Oak Hills resident makes his own tie-dye T-shirt

Several studies have shown that allowing long-term care residents to express themselves through arts and crafts activities can keep their minds stimulated and prevent boredom that can lead to mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression.

Not only does participation in arts and craft provide a distraction, but research has also shown that residents who participate in these activities could see improvement in their physical health as well.

Edmond Health Care Center Life Enrichment Director, Julie Ford, helps a resident interact with her own arts and craft project

Repetitiveness of motions are used in physical, occupational, and restorative therapy methods, and when transitioned into daily activities like drawing or painting a picture, studies show that it can treat symptoms of some mobility conditions such as stroke, neuropathy, muscle weakness and arthritis.

Oak Hills residents show their pride in the results of their tie-dye T-shirts

One of the leading causes of depression in those living in long-term care is loneliness, and a lack of their sense of purpose. When a resident has a consistent arts and crafts activity at least once or twice a week, where they can socialize with other residents, and finish an art project that gives them a sense of accomplishment, those feelings can be significantly diminished.

Our Artistic Residents

Across our communities at Oak Hills Care Center, Edmond Health Care Center, and Skyview Nursing Center, residents can participate in arts and crafts activities up to twice a week, including a variety of other activities every day.

Ford assists a resident with her arts and crafts project on National Fortune Cookie Day

Life Enrichment Director at Edmond Health Care Center, Julie Ford, often plans her arts and crafts activities to go along with the theme of a national holiday. For example, Ford and the residents made Chinese palette drums on National Fortune Cookie Day in July.

Ford says that she truly believes that arts and crafts can help long-term care residents mentally and physically.

An EHCC Activities Assistant helps a resident with his arts and crafts project

"Arts and crafts are beneficial because they can create a sense of accomplishment, pride, and purpose, while creating positive thoughts and memories," Ford said. "Physically, it's great for the residents to have the freedom to create at their own pace. These activities can promote movement, independence, and interaction within the community. Personally, I love arts and crafts, as there is no right or wrong way, just the absolute freedom of expression."

A resident of Oak Hills smiles with her popsicle stick turkey craft

Residents of Oak Hills Care Center have enjoyed themselves while participating in artistic activities such as tie-dyeing T-shirts, and more recently, painting pumpkins, and crafting popsicle stick turkeys.

Activities Director at Oak Hills Care Center, Bobbi Thomas, says that she's seen first hand how arts and crafts activities have improved the lives of the residents. "It keeps their minds stimulated," Thomas said. "It also helps the residents feel like they can express themselves, and I think it's relaxing and refreshing for them, too."

A resident of Skyview Nursing Center paints a wooden box during Sip n' Paint

Residents of Skyview Nursing Center enjoy participating in creative activities throughout the week like painting, coloring, and clay making. Skyview residents have even helped their Activities Director, Amy Presley, decorate their community for the holidays.

Residents of Skyview gather for Sip n' Paint

However, the best day of each month for the residents of Skyview, is when they gather for their “Sip n' Paint" activity. At Sip n' Paint, the residents paint wooden figures, or a blank canvas, and enjoy socializing with each other and drinking non-alcoholic sparkling juice in champagne flutes.

"You don't really know who has creativity until they show up to Sip n' Paint," Presley said in a recent blog post. "They just... amaze you, and that's what makes my day."

At Voyage Long Term Care, our communities are dedicated to providing quality care for our residents that includes life enriching and stimulating activities like arts and crafts. Whether it's drawing a picture, painting a canvas, tie-dying a shirt, or crafting with popsicle sticks, our team has seen first hand how that can improve the lives of all of the residents.


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