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Archive for the ‘Orcutt care home’ Category

March brings with it blossoms, shamrocks, and all things Irish, and we’ve been itching to get started on these craft and art projects! My excitement over our projects for March got me thinking. Why is art so important? Why do people of all ages enjoy pariticipating in artistic activities? This blog post then begins a three part series on art and artistic expression for seniors with memory loss or Alzheimer’s Disease. While I am by no means an artist or expert on the subject, that is exactly the point. ANYONE…even individuals with significant cognitive decline, can find pathways for expression through art.

Blossoming Tree Project for March

Blossoming Tree Project for March: This picture was made by applying dots of paint by a Q-tip to a pre-printed picture of an empty tree. The use of pink in this picture gives the impression of a cherry tree!

Why Make Art a Priority?

At the Magnolia and Primrose care home, we believe that art and activities are at least as important as medications. Why is that?

  • Art provides other avenues for self-expression which is a huge bonus for individuals with diminishing language capabilities. It uses parts of the brain that are often easier to tap into than language skills and which degenerate slower than other parts of the brain.
  •  Additionally, art therapy can prove calming for some individuals during episodes of agitation. Similar effects are seen with music, animals, and even just viewing art!
  • Art is also useful in building relationships. Caregivers and elders can work together on projects which in turn strengthens their bond together. It can also be used to provide intergenerational interactions between elders and children. Finally, group art projects can build a sense of community in care homes and assisted living facilities. For example, last month each resident was giving a square piece of cardstock with a simple heart outline on it. Each resident was given the opportunity to fill in their hearts with magazine clippings, drawings, or coloring. At the end, all the hearts were combined with pieces of valentine cardstock to create a quilt like effect. The residents were very proud of the beautiful “quilt” they created together!

 To learn more about the intersection between art therapy and neuropsychology, check out this fascinating article about how art therapy can be used and what it does.

Finally, I came across this video from the International Art Therapy Organization in my search for more information about art therapy. It is a fascinating and deeply moving story of a man who started painting for the first time after his Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Check out their page on neurodegenerative disorders for more information.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_Te-s6M4qc&feature=player_embedded

Blog Posts Coming soon…..

  • 2 of 3: Reaching the InnerArtist: Tips for creating art with those with memory loss
  • 3 of 3: Ideas and Resources for Artistic Expression: Where can you find easy but meaningful projects?
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One of the things we are passionate about at the Magnolia and Primrose care homes is caring for elders on a holistic level and addressing spiritual and emotional needs beyond just physical and social needs.

One of the ways we do this is through integrating animals and visits from children in the care home. Most people respond to animals with very positive emotions. Our residents’ faces light up and they love stroking the soft fur of cats and dogs. It is not just our residents who enjoy animals, there is research to suggest that animal therapy provides tangible benefits to elders and elders with dementia in particular. According to this review, studies show that the presence of animals reduces aggression and agitation and promotes social interaction. There is even some evidence to suggest that animals can encourage better eating at meal times. Other possible benefits of animal therapy include increased exercise and mobility (ex. throwing a ball, grooming, short walks) and of course, pleasure.

Because of the obvious benefits of animal interactions, we have tried to integrate animals of all kinds into our care homes. Currently at Magnolia we have a pair of parakeets that keep the air lively with bird chatter. Next door at Primrose, three zebra finches flit about  in their habitat and their soft tweets add a pleasant ambiance. Outside our garden frequently welcomes wild birds and butterflies. The owner’s dog, Roxy, also loves to come visit the residents and warm their laps.

Our next step is to add permanent pets to the care homes that residents can help care for and feel ownership over. To this end, we recently adopted two white mini poodle puppy brothers. They are hypoallergenic, loving, and the perfect size for a lap dog. Once they are completely trained they will move to the care home to be permanent therapy dogs. For now, they come by for short visits to get used to the home and the equipment they might see her. We couldn’t resist snapping this picture of one of our residents and a puppy, both of whom have cast right now for breaks. Dont’ worry, both are healing!

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Music with EldersWe may not be in Venice Beach, but drum circles are starting up at Magnolia and Primrose! Last night we hosted our first drum circle with residents of both care homes and it was AMAZING. Everyone participated and had a great time whether they were drumming a beat, shaking a maraca, or playing the tambourine.  Residents copied rhytms, created their own rhytms, and later added percussion to guitar played by Susie Halsell. We liked it so much that our “drum circle” will be a permanent weekly fixture around here.

So, what is a drum circle? A drum circle can mean lots of different things, Basically its any group of people playing percussion in a circle. The focus is on the event itself, not practicing for a performance or attempting to make an actual song. Here is a great quotation from Mickey Hart, Grateful Dead drummer, during a testimony before the United States Special Committee on Aging,

Typically people gather to drum in drum “circles” wiht others from the surrounding community. The drum circle offers equality because there is no head or tail. It includes people of all ages. The main objective is to share rhythm and get in tune with each other and themselves. To form a group consciousness. To entrain and resonate. By entertainment, I mean that a new voice, a collective voice, emerges from the group as they drum together.

Why do a drum circle? Well there are lots of benefits to this form of expression and music! They include:

  • Loosening stiff joints in the arms and hands
  • Improving circulation in the arms and hands
  • Providing an easily accessible mild exercise
  • Stimulating the mind with music
  • Building a sense of group identiy
  • Can easily be done as an intergenerational activty with youth.
  • Really fun, many say it “makes them feel young again”

So, what do you need to start your own drum circle? While fancy African drums and bongos would be wonderful, you can also find many other less expensive instruments. In fact, it’s nice to have a variety of percussion instruments since every participant may have a different capabilities with their hands and arms and different interests. Here are some things we used last night that worked out great

  • large metal coffee cans for drumming. Oatmeal cartons work too!
  • small glass bottles filled with beans or other small objects
  • hatboxes (they make great makeshift drums!)
  • maracas ( often inexpensive)
  • a stick rubbed on the outside of a ridged coffee can
  • get creative!

Have you ever been a part of a drum circle? What instruments would YOU add?Ladies of the drum circle

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Giving a donation

The Santa Maria Baseball team and the Residents of Magnolia

On Sunday we were visited at Magnolia & Primrose by the Santa Maria Baseball Club U14.  The team showed off some of their baseball skills with a short practice. Afterwards they joined residents in a game of catch. We snapped a great picture of Ms. Jeanne throwing a ball back!

Jeanne has a great arm!

The baseball exposition was followed by pizza with the team and the residents in our party barn. Check out our slideshow for more pictures!

 

At the end of the visit they received a donation from the care home to help cover the costs of their fall league. Check out the story from the Santa Maria Times.

Joey Halsell plays on the team and is the grandson of owners Chuck & Margie Halsell. Thank you Joey for bringing your team by! Good luck in your next season.

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