Art Therapy

PRACTICAL

Implementing the Creative Care project
n 2003. social-care services in Suffolk identified a need for improving the skills of carers of older people in the tiuality of activities that they offer to their client group. As a result, the charity Suffolk Artlink undertook a pilot programme of arts activities in residential homes wiih the aim of tlemonstrating the value of using artists within residential care settings. Suffolk Artlink devised a programme in collaboration with professional artists, who were all t ho.sen for their ex|ierience and an approach to their work thai emphasized what the older people were able to tio (rather {han noi able to do). A series ol Creative ("are pilot projects were devised with ihe following aims: • To give carers working with older jieople the addiiional skills and confitlence to deliver high quality arts activities • To create new op[iortunities for older jX'opie and their carers to take part in creative activities with profe.ssional artists • To improve the cjuality of care and quality (}f life for older people • 'Ib increa.se the job .satisfaction of carers, and reduce staff turnover in care homes.

I

Anna MacGregor looks at how artists can be used to improve the quality of care for the elderly and benefit botb carers and customers in residential care.
homes in Sutfolk using the visual arts, music, dance and creative writing. Training for the carers was built into all activities to enable the transfer of skills and thereby improve the quality of the activities delivered in the long term. The programme was designed to challenge the carers to think ahotit the way they delivered activities in new wa\s. and to develop an api^roach that valued the proce.ss over the product. Creative acti\ it' does not always mean [laint and pencils. Nor do physical or mental limitations dictate child-iike activities that can Ix' demeaning. The work.shcjp

themes were veiy varied and were designed lo he fun but challenging,...
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