How Art Activities Can Bring Hope to Seniors in COVID-19 Isolation

Mary Beth Flynn | 09 February, 2021


          
            How Art Activities Can Bring Hope to Seniors in COVID-19 Isolation

When COVID-19 began to threaten older adults in nursing homes and senior living facilities, the only way to protect them was to confine them to the safety of their rooms. Unfortunately, it also brought a temporary stop to social activities, like music performances, games and art classes, that help boost their happiness and improve their cognition and memory.

This isolation and loss of routine have been detrimental to seniors’ health. However, according to the National Endowment for the Arts, when senior living facilities employ out-of-the-box activities to increase connectedness, art is one of the best vehicles to promote “mental stimulation, physical activity, social engagement, and the pure joy of art making with others.”

Created in response to COVID-19, the new online platform from Artfully Aging, a national senior art program, offers a way for activity directors and staff to easily modify traditional group art sessions for individual participants. Even when seniors can’t safely leave their rooms, they can still enjoy the therapeutic benefits of art and a much-needed distraction.

Why Artfully Aging is the best way to bring art directly to your residents

Artfully Aging’s online videos provide seniors with access to engaging watercolor painting activities led by therapeutic art specialists. Although traditionally geared toward group sessions, the virtual program’s flexibility means anyone can participate, whether in a communal setting or from the comfort of their room.

Offering your residents enriching individual art sessions requires just a few simple steps:

  1. Order supplies through the Artfully Aging store.Artfully Aging has created a full menu of projects to match a variety of seasons or themes. Simply order preprinted watercolor sheets in the quantity you need and have them delivered to your facility. You can also order watercolor paint and paintbrushes for residents to keep on hand.
  2. Press play on the instructional video for the project.Because our art sessions are online, you can either play them over your community’s in-house TV channel for a real-time virtual group activity or share them directly with individual residents on a tablet or other device. We recommend that staff preview videos ahead of time to be ready for any questions participants may have.
  3. Provide additional help as needed. While Artfully Aging’s instructional art videos are fun and easy for participants to follow, residents in assisted living or memory care facilities may need a little extra hands-on assistance. Artfully Aging provides online training videos with tips and techniques to help your staff better guide seniors in their watercolor adventure. It’s important to remember our projects are just a template – let your residents’ creativity take the wheel!
  4. Share your residents’ work with others. When COVID-19 pressed pause on group classes, the socialization seniors thrive on also came to a halt. Because art instills such a sense of pride and self-esteem in seniors, be sure to spotlight your participants’ work! During the sessions, take videos of your residents as they show off their works of art and combine them into one video you can broadcast on your community channel at the end of the week.

The best way to help your residents fend off the stress of isolation during the pandemic or when an injury or illness confines them to their rooms is to keep their hands and minds busy. Thanks to virtual watercolor art sessions through Artfully Aging, residents can relax, regain a feeling of control, and enjoy the freedom that comes with letting their creativity flow. To check out all the watercolor projects available now, visit the Artfully Aging online store.