Festival performers, burlesque dancers, stand up comedians or silk screening workshops aren’t always things you’d expect to see at an aged care home. But one organisation is out to change this, creating an innovative arts program which brings art festivals into its aged care homes, community services and retirement villages.
That organisation is Southern Cross Care (SA & NT) and they have recently been named Outstanding Organisation in the 2017 HESTA Aged Care Awards for their innovative approach to integrating art across their residential, community and retirement services.
Through a collaborative partnership with the South Australian Living Arts Festival and the Adelaide Fringe festival, operating across the year, Southern Cross Care brings visual and creative art activities into their homes, community and retirement living villages.
Creativity at any age
Jo Boylan, Director Operations explains “The arts play an important role in the health and wellbeing of individuals and the community by making life just that little bit richer.”
Operating throughout the year, the arts initiative includes events where residents engage with performers and artists participate in art lessons and create their own art works.
“Residents who have participated in the arts program have reported an improved mood, feelings of appreciation and have indicated the program has helped to bring an increased sense of purpose to their lives," says Jo.
Artistic expression embedded with care
Jo explains that with the $10,000 prize money from the award, Southern Cross Care will explore ways to continue to expand this vital program. The funding will allow us to recruit and train a variety of artists with experience in photography, ceramics, painting, print making and furniture design.
“These artists will work across the entire organisation, from retirement living to community services, respite and residential, with a particular focus on dementia specific art programs. The broad range of art mediums available will increase customer choice, as well as promoting a strong sense of achievement and enhancing wellbeing,” Jo says.