Mandurah: Brightwater seniors enjoy art in the park


Keith Tonkins (Resident), Deb Coleman (Therapy Assistant), Bernice Turnbull (Volunteer) & Elizabeth Martin (Resident)
Keith Tonkins (Resident), Deb Coleman (Therapy Assistant), Bernice Turnbull (Volunteer) & Elizabeth Martin (Resident)

ART is a universal theme at The Cove in Dudley Park where residents, staff and volunteers at the Brightwater residential aged care facility share the sensory joys and benefits it brings.

For residents living with dementia, painting at the weekly Art in the Garden sessions with enthusiastic volunteers has encouraged memories, visual and vocal expression, which are exciting breakthroughs especially for people who rarely speak due to their illness.

Mainstream residents enjoy making new friends and unearthing latent talent to create art they proudly hang on their walls at weekly Kath’s Art Group sessions lead by volunteers from the Mariner’s Cove Creative Arts and Crafts group.

Facility Care manager Margaret Van Zyl said the Art in the Garden project for residents living with dementia was enabled by Brightwater’s Life’s Possibilities fund made up from community donations.

She said Kath’s Art Group was funded by the family of a previous resident at The Cove, Kath Kingdon who had since passed away, who would have loved “laughing and having fun while slapping paint around with a brush”.

Therapy team leader Petina Beckman said one Art in the Garden participant had begun reminiscing about his childhood home after painting a tree while another, normally reluctant to join group activities, had become very chatty and excited about painting scenery.

“Without these types of artistic interventions, people would be sitting quietly, not mixing with others. It has encouraged reminiscing and communication,” Ms Beckman said.

Members of Kath’s Art Group have held an exhibition of their work for family members of the group’s namesake and former resident who, described as vivacious, larger than life and fun-loving with a great sense of humour, has provided much inspiration.

“Kath’s Art Group” is just such a great story, one of local volunteers coming to donate their time to help bring joy to elderly residents’ lives,” Ms Beckman said.

“I love watching the residents feel empowered to paint something and hearing the pride in their voices when they show off the finished product.

“Some of the pieces have taken months to complete. It is a slow, but very enjoyable process.”