March 1, 2012

Creating Delight for Seniors Through Art

As an occupational therapist in a skilled nursing facility, I am professionally trained to work with seniors to have them strive to reach and maintain their highest level of function.  While I am a firm believer in the science and medical aspects of occupational therapy, I am a strong advocate of utilizing the creative and artistic facets of the field as well.

I was particularly inspired by the Museum of Modern Art’s “Meet Me at the MoMa” project that makes art accessible to people with dementia and their caregivers. It made me think about how beneficial it would be to integrate art into Aviv Centers for Living.  This led to the development of the Art Walk.  On the second floor of our skilled nursing facility, each wing has art displays with both descriptions and questions to evoke memories and conversations with caregivers, family members and friends.

Here at Aviv, we like to say that our goal is to “create delight” for our residents and clients. I look forward to seeing how our art evokes emotional reactions through conversations, reminiscing about life and connecting with family.

We have launched “My Life Story” books that are fantastic ways for residents and family members to paint a picture of a resident to enhance their quality of life and care that is provided to them. Another nice little delight some of our residents experience is a sensory hand massage; they absolutely love the sensation of having their hands massaged in a relaxing environment.

When I look at our mission…to enrich the life of each of our residents and program participants, so that each can continue to live his or her life with a sense of meaning and purpose, I can see that integrating art into Aviv Centers for Living will organically bring meaning, joy and delight for our resident and clients.