In October 2021, hundreds of residents in our homes across the country took part in The Big Draw Festival 2021 and explored the theme ‘Make the Change’ which looks at the relationship we have with the environment we live in.
From school partnerships, to virtual masterclasses with a professional artist – there was plenty to draw inspiration from.
We were proud to be the health and social care partner for the festival for the third year running, renewing our commitment to show you all our activity-based care approach. Art is a wonderful way for residents to express their feelings and showcase their artistic flare, while stimulating the imagination, boosting self-esteem, and providing a sense of accomplishment.
We also hope that our involvement will inspire other care homes across the country and beyond to join in with The Big Draw Festival and share their creations with us using the hashtags #CareToDraw and #TheBigDraw.
Art therapy has many proven benefits for older people, while being incredibly accessible, no matter the age or skills, so we couldn’t agree more with The Big Draw team’s vision to promote drawing as a universal tool for learning, expression, and invention.
This year, residents in around 40 Care UK homes took part in some kind of artistic event ranging from nature inspired collages to a Scottish home where residents and team members took part in an art competition with the children at the local primary school and hosted an animal life drawing session with a special four-legged friend – Sherbert the pony.
An artist known for her striking charcoal drawings, often created on busy public transport journeys, has led an exclusive live online art class for residents in four of Care UK’s homes.
On top of physical benefits, from increased motor skills to improved coordination, creative activities such as drawing can truly boost cognitive function and even reduce the rate of development for a range of memory conditions, including Alzheimer’s.
Initiatives, such as The Big Draw Festival, also offer the added benefit of providing a fantastic opportunity for social connection – by bringing together groups of people around one common activity – so we’d like to encourage everyone to watch out for the 2022 event this autumn, regardless of their age, and get drawing!
Another initiative saw residents from Edinburgh to Kent submit artwork to be considered for inclusion in a very special virtual ‘walk through’ art gallery – believed to be the first of its kind in the country for care homes.
Commenting on her artwork featuring in a national gallery, Doris, a resident at Appleby House, said: “Heavens above, it’s an honour – I’m very proud, but it wasn’t just me, we all got involved!”. Sharing the excitement towards the national gallery, resident Jean at Dashwood Manor said: “I’m excited – a gallery wow. It’ll be nice to see all the pictures.”
Care UK’s involvement in The Big Draw festival in previous years has seen life drawing class with a nude model and tuition from an animator who has world with Disney. The campaign drew admiration from the care sector and won top prize at last years Care Home Awards.
To find out more about the Big Draw festival, please go to thebigdraw.org.
There are easy ways to add art to an older person’s routine – check out our five top tips for getting creative at home:
1. Take a trip down memory lane
An art session can be a fantastic opportunity for reminiscence. Ask your loved ones about their happy memories, discuss their favourite painting, sculpture or place, and see if you can recreate it on paper together.
2. Colouring is for all ages
Over the last few years, colouring books for adults have gained in popularity and have become more mainstream. Avoid childlike ones, try and pick one your loved one will enjoy, or even better, choose it together.
3. Step outside for inspiration
Sometimes, inspiration is just on the doorstep. A walk and some fresh air can do wonders to one’s health, no matter their age. If your loved one is able to go out, why not take a walk to a nearby park, or even just into your garden, for an inspiration, then paint or draw what you’ve seen together?
4. Get all of the senses involved
If a loved one’s vision is impaired, then it’s important to think of the other senses. Try creating a mosaic-style artwork by using different layers and textures, from fabric squares to buttons, ribbons and tulle.
5. Keep it simple
Many older people grew up with simple tools for drawing, including pencils, charcoal, crayons and papers. Using familiar items can make a big difference in your loved ones’ levels of confidence, so remember to keep it simple.