As time went on some of the older people involved developed a sense of significant achievement and with that confidence in their own ability grew. Some said that the experience brought back wonderment to their lives with observers remarking ‘it was like going back to their youth’ and ‘Just amazing what they got out of it – they were buzzing’ .
Participants were seen smiling, engaging, enjoying new sensory experiences and being present in ways not typically seen with carers and family members reporting that those participating in the creative projects were enjoying improved mental and cognitive health.
Staff at the various residencies saw their residents tap into their own innate creative reservoirs including those who were hard to reach and who have not engaged with other activities at the setting.
As the programme continued carers began to see the older people in their care differently and used the social engagement of the arts projects to get to know them better. Through the creative projects they also began to understand that art is more than creating a nice picture or object and is essentially about self expression. They saw the value in the one-to-one time spent by the artist with older people and aspired to try to engage with their older people in the same way. One said, ‘We saw the residents excel way more than we expected to see. We don’t have the time, skill or resources to do this and it was the time and the relationship that make it happen..
Creative Ireland and Age and Opportunity are delighted to announce that a second programme of creative residencies will begin in January 2021 with an emphasis on dance and performance cultural endeavour. A call out for participating artists will be announced soon.
To read more about the Age and Opportunity 2019-2020 Residencies please click here.