As a former teacher, I sort of hybridize (new word?) art therapy by using all the expressive arts, including educational tidbits, to which the seniors really seem to react favorably. Recently after picking apples at a local Oregon farm, I brought apples in for tasting. I also provided a fact sheet about apples and we all learned that China is the country that produces the most apples on this earth. Most of us thought it was the US. The US is second in production of apples! We tasted apples and then listened to the song about Johnny Appleseed. The video is cute and some said they would like to see it next time....We hummed and we talked about what we might make with apples.
One gentleman who was supposed to be going to dialysis came out and listened in the periphery. He chimed in many a pertinent fact and was glad to know I appreciated his witty and informative tidbits. Why, he said, to test the sweetness of an apple, take a bite and suck out the juice. If it comes out sweet, then, by golly, that apple is sweet! If no juice comes out, then that apple is past time for eatin'!
He even said he might join us the next week when we are going to try apple cider and he commented, You gonna bring hard cider? and then he guffawed loudly. I gotta stay one step ahead of this guy, I recorded to myself...
I explained that art was uncanny in the fact that our brain is exercised by doing art - simply moving the crayon or marker to fill in an apple. Or we could just scribble. Smiles around the place. Out of four groups that worked with the apples, only one was barely able to use a crayon or marker. Yet she tried and smiled. Another rocked her baby and smiled when I asked her if she wanted to color.
Thoughts of apple pies, applesauce, and caramel apples filled out heads with nostalgia. The humming of someone in the background - the smell of the crisp, cold apples and the
I feel so much empathy and love for them and I've only met with them three times. Next time we will drink apple cider and maybe paint! Yes, abstract painting. It doesn't have to be anything - it can be what you want.
I quickly find a few abstract art pieces on my huge phone and they all wonder at the beauty of art. I find myself corrected by an 88-year old woman when I say, "See? They are beautiful nothings!" And she says Oh, but they are something, dear!
Duly corrected and duly humbled. Yes, I learn so much from these amazing seniors. I only hope I am able to make a difference in their lives and bring in hope and beauty to help them move on to a level of increased happiness.