Over many years, High Peak Community Arts has ran occasional projects with elders – in both care and community settings. We are currently running a project in Glossop and starting one in New Mills, and hope to do more work with elders in the future.
As with the other groups we work with, participation in the arts has an important role to play in the wellbeing of elders.
As stated in a 2013 article by NICE, ‘Depression and loneliness, and low levels of life satisfaction are common’ amongst residents in care homes. The first two statements in their Quality Standards are:
- Older people in care homes are offered opportunities during their day to participate in meaningful activity that promotes their health and mental wellbeing.
- Older people in care homes are enabled to maintain and develop their personal identity.
We are aware that despite this, many care homes do not have the resources to fully meet these standards. We work with them to create projects to help combat loneliness, isolation, boredom, depression, lack of stimulation, and loss of personal identity.
Our ‘Together Through Art’ projects help in meeting the Quality Standard of Meaningful Activity and as stipulated by NICE, our workshops are also open to visiting friends and relatives, offering a more meaningful visit. A visit with a relative with dementia could be more fruitful when the visitor and resident can work together on a shared creative activity. Likewise, through group discussion, the art forms and projects are chosen by the participants themselves (NICE: [elders] should be encouraged to take an active role in choosing and defining activities that are meaningful to them. Whenever possible, and if the person wishes, family, friends and carers should be involved in these activities).
Creative arts projects are also ideally placed as a means for participants to meet NICE’s second quality standard. It is through Art that people can express and explore who they are, their personal identity, their histories, their aspirations, and changing identities. (NICE: ‘Older people in care homes are given support and opportunities to express themselves as individuals and maintain and develop their sense of who they are…. Older people should be involved in decision-making and supported and enabled to express who they are as an individual and what they want. They should be able to make their own choices whenever possible. Enabling older people to maintain and develop their personal identity during and after their move to a care home promotes dignity and has a positive impact on their sense of identity and mental wellbeing…. Central to personal identity is the feeling of having a purpose in life, feeling valued, having a sense of belonging and a feeling of worth. Relationships, including those with family, carers and friends, are an important aspect of a person’s identity and can have a significant impact on mental wellbeing. An individual’s personal identity may change as their circumstances alter.)
(i) Whitfield House
We are working in partnership with Glossop Art Project to deliver an intergenerational arts project at Whitfield House in Glossop. This involves residents from Whitfield House and sixth form pupils from Glossopdale Community School. We are holding 12 workshops funded by Foundation Derbyshire. This started in November 2017 and runs till the end of February 2018. It builds on the work of a pilot project earlier in 2017.
(ii) New Mills Volunteer Centre
We start a new community based project in February in partnership with New Mills Volunteer Centre, and working with artist Amanda Whewell. It will run on Wednesdays 1pm – 3pm starting on March 7th