Amanda Price’s passion for art led her to her senior care calling.
Price studied art in college with a minor in psychology, and did not expect to be working with seniors after graduation. Now, as Therapeutic Recreation Assistant at Southview Acres Health Care Center in St. Paul, Price says working with older Minnesotans has been a great experience. “I just really love working with seniors,” says Price. “They’re all so encouraging to each other too. It’s really nice to have the community come together through being creative.”
Price enjoys the residents’ willingness to try new things and explore the projects she brings to them even though they may be hesitant at first. “Since I’ve started the program they’ve really dove into it, and I’ve had larger groups, larger interest. I’ve been able to bring art to other floors of our facility.”
Every Thursday, Price leads a creative art group and coaches residents in art forms such as watercolor, tempera paints, clay, bubble art, and drawing. Price then mattes all the artwork completed by residents for display at an art show. She loves seeing how proud residents are of their work and how they feel a sense of accomplishment.
Price also leads an art appreciation class featuring different paintings from history, and a community paint night that is open to staff and residents. At paint night, Price creates a sample painting and then walks participants step-by-step through the process to create a similar painting. “They all turn out different but it’s a really neat experience,” says Price.
Price adapts art projects to different skill levels and motor abilities. “I don’t want anyone to feel like they can’t do the project.” Price adds that she appreciates having volunteers for extra hands.
The number of seniors that have shown interest in participating in creative arts has surprised Price. “There have been residents I would not have thought would be interested in trying the creative process as many people may not have created something for years, maybe even since they were in school. I love that encouraging the residents allows them to try something a little out of their comfort zone, and seeing that they can have fun with it!”
Art also serves as a communications tool, especially for residents with cognitive decline or memory loss, says Price. “People have a harder time saying things and expressing through words, so I’ve found that it’s a great form of expression.”