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St Bede’s Residents unleash their inner Picasso

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Art classes were in full swing again this week for the residents of Catholic Healthcare’s St Bede’s Home in South Hurstville.

Art Therapist, Natalya Solovyeva has been running Art Based Cognitive Therapy (ABCT) sessions at St Bede’s twice a month since late last year, and the classes have proved very popular for both residents with low care needs and those living with dementia. Around 10 residents participate in each session which run for a couple of hours.

Recreational Activities Officer, Almira Maratas says, “The residents look forward to the art classes and love to paint and create their masterpieces. It’s very fulfilling to see our residents taking pride in their art works. Later in the year, they hope to hold an art exhibition to show off their work to family and friends, and maybe even sell a few pieces.”

Art therapy has many benefits for people of all ages. Art therapy encourages socialisation and communication, increases cognitive skills and intellectual stimulation, improves physical and motor skills, relieves depression, alleviates pain, and promotes self-awareness and self-expression.

“The program is aimed at improving our residents’ wellbeing and is a great social activity where we come together, engage in conversation, have a laugh, explore creative ideas and appreciate each other’s work, which encourages participation and supports an inclusive environment,” says Almira.

During the art classes, Almira focuses most of her attention on residents living with dementia, who need some extra prompting and encouragement. “I enjoy supporting residents who need a little more help and seeing them embrace their creative side. They are always keen to pick up a brush and are passionate about their paintings. It is also rewarding for family members visiting the Home to watch their loved ones engaged in the art classes.”

The residents use acrylic paints and watercolours for their art works which they create on canvas.

Some of the themes painted have included celebrations such as Christmas and the Melbourne Cup, picturesque landscapes, beautiful florals and structures such as the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

To find out more about St Bede’s visit: www.catholichealthcare.com.au/residence/st-bedes-home/