I am seeing how art is helping Seniors in the Assisted Living and in Memory Care Facility here at Alma Via in Camarillo. I have also learned it is not the product that is important but the process of enjoying creations and expressing yourself. Many of the residents have limited dexterity, but enjoy creating pieces that are broken down simply. This helps them engage their minds and stay focused. They also enjoy the fellowship creating within a group and the dialogue and exchange of ideas, but don't we all learn and are inspired by others in a community. Some projects are just for the fun, and other times I like to work with my art therapy training to focus on a theme to help them process emotions. Especially as we are approach Thanksgiving, it is nice to have something that reminds us of the positive things in life. It is easy to slip into negativity when your mind is slipping, and the body isn't moving like it did at 40, but to focus on thankfulness brings health to our minds and bodies. We really have a lot to be Thankful for our friends, family, community, and needs met at a great facility like Alma Via Senior Living Home.
I wanted to highlight my 101 year-old student: Jeanne Clark. She was such a joy to teach! She was joyful, open to new ideas, and had such a willing heart to try things. She looked forward to our weekly art lessons, as much as I did. She has helped me to see things that will last long in life: joy, counting your blessings, being close to family, having a happy heart, and doing things that you enjoy! I also enjoyed hearing her sing "Blue Skies" whenever I asked her, "what color do you want the sky?" I downloaded it on my song list for her art lessons!
Now that I go to several different senior homes, someone will say, "I am too old, I can't do that", I share pictures that Jeanne has created. Those 80 year-olds don't have her beat! If she can, you can too! We are never too old to learn art and have fun expressing our creativity inside!
"An artist brings joy into our lives by teaching our eyes to see. How deeply I recommend Michelle Honles as a person as an artist, and as a teacher. My mother at 101 years is taking art lessons from Michelle. How gently, patiently and sweetly she engages my mother in art . There are few things my mother can do any more. Her art lesson with Michelle is the highlight of each week and the best expenditure of money, for her well being that I can make. Beauty satisfies the soul."
Christie Johnson, (Jeanne Clark's daughter)