Caledonia Senior Living & Memory Care, the primary charity of the Chicago Scots, the oldest non-profit in Illinois, is expanding their ever growing arts programming to include furniture restoration, painting and music therapy.
Included in this expansion is a creative and touching initiative on their campus called the “Midnight Painters” The series, led by Memory Care Coordinator and Recreational Therapist Mary Sandoval aims to engage residents that wake up at night. At many organizations, staff would be concerned about getting them back to sleep to stay “on schedule,” but at the MacLean House, Caledonia’s residential Memory Care Assisted Living the staff follow the residents individual preferences and natural schedules—for several residents that means they are at the most alert in the middle of the night providing an opportunity for them to produce intricate works of art, many times with no previous art instruction.
“The program began when one resident was having consistent trouble sleeping,” said Sandoval. “Rather than usher him back to bed, I let him sit and watch me draw throughout the night. Overtime, he asked to learn to draw himself and, over a few lessons, I was elated to see his creativity and talent.”
Sandoval has since expanded the art workshops so that residents of all calibers can participate at different times of day including those nicknamed the “Midnight Painters” who wake up during the evening hours and participate in a nighttime painting group. Using mural painting, molding paste, and story boarding, Sandoval and her colleagues at Caledonia encourage residents to flex their artistic muscles and lean into their creativity. From drawing to painting to even furniture restoration, residents of Caledonia Senior Living & Memory Care join together regularly, at all times of the day, to create beautiful works of art.
These art sessions give the opportunity for those with memory loss to express themselves in a different way. For some it awakens something familiar from their past and for others it offers a new way for them to engage.
Projects have included a range of works including solo painting pieces, clay creations, water colors, wood working, and a group mural that took over 8 months to produce. The mural, depicting the Scottish urban legend of the Loch Ness Monster, Nessie, is composed of 3 different 8 x 10 wood planks. Each and every resident that participated worked at their own pace and in their own way, to collaboratively create this work of art. The residents are currently working on their next big mural, the national animal of Scotland, the Unicorn.
“We don’t put an emphasis on the product of these projects, but rather the process.” said Sandoval. “The memories that are made do not always last. But what is important is that in the moment, the residents experience joy and companionship.”
Nestled in a unique, woodland setting, Caledonia Senior Living & Memory Care offers various living options based on an individual’s needs, including Assisted Living, Sheltered Care, Memory Care, Intermediate and Skilled Nursing Care, and Respite Care. Steeped in the Scottish values of authenticity, warmth, tradition and community, Caledonia Senior Living keeps residents physically active, mentally involved, and spiritually engaged with their community, insuring that they are engaged members of the community around them.
This article originally appear on SeniorLivingNews.com