‘Art as Therapy’ is a keynote program at The Normandy Care Center in Rocky River.
Residents follow the programs initiated by Lori Lancaster, ADC, back in 2002. They have since seen a deeper appreciation for skills they didn’t know they had while also exercising memory processes that come with utilizing mental skills associated with creativity.
“We offer different programs in a variety of media, and we find the program that is right for each person,” says Lori.
“If people need to work with their hands, we place them in programs where they can use their hands.”
Every resident in The Normandy Care Center ‘Art as Therapy’ program starts out in an introductory assessment class. “From there, we can direct residents into programs specific to their needs,” says Lori.
Those programs run from watercolor classes, to pastels, sculpture with clay, sewing and beading.
“It is important to use the fine motor skills for keeping the fingers active and for hand-eye coordination,” says Lori. The goal of all classes is to stimulate the mental functionality in all the participants in this memory care facility. “Art stimulates the growth of new passages in the brain and stimulates both new memory activity as well as old memory pathways,” says Lori.
The corridors of The Normandy Care Center are lined with works by the residents. “I tell them that this is a time in their lives to enjoy new learning, to do something they may not have thought of doing before. Many of them find an increase in self-esteem as their skills evolve. We talk a lot about not giving up, about trying even if it is not perfect,” says Lori.
One resident said, “Lori found a way to teach me art which I never thought that I could enjoy learning and also taught me the importance of patience. She says learning is a lifetime endeavor. We talk about the importance of never giving up to keep on trying even when our work is not perfect.” By the end of the six week session many find an increase in self-esteem and hope, and can’t believe they did it. Art can assist in cognitive function in areas of the brain. It draws from parts of the brain that language doesn’t. It stirs the brain and can bring language back into the life of someone who struggles to speak.