Chris Shinholster, life enrichment director at Windsor Reflections Memory Care of Lakewood Ranch, says the best thing about having residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s participate in a four-week art class is the memories that emerged.
“There were around 10 or 12 residents who participated every week,” Shinholster said. “They would tell stories about drawing with markers when they were kids or when they would do it at church” or when they were teachers.
Windsor Reflections hosted a silent art auction June 15 featuring the residents’ art. Proceeds benefited the Alzheimer’s Association, which funds Alzheimer’s research.
Fred Ketchum was an art teacher before his dementia diagnosis. His daughter, Sarasota’s Janice Ketchum, said having a piece of artwork made by her father is like having a piece of him with her.
“He doesn’t really remember it afterward when he’s looking at the painting he’s made,” Janice Ketchum said. “But when I went to go pick out his painting, I knew which one it was right away. Everything else with his memory might be gone, but his favorite colors stay the same -— green and orange.”
Shinholster said Ketchum seemed to enjoy the art class the most of any resident.
Windsor Reflections resident Mary Sue Hudgens came in a close second on the enjoyment scale. Although she could not remember when she used to make art at church years ago, she remembered she enjoyed it.
Melanie Storm, the art program teacher with Fusion Home Care, taught the classes.
“There was a lot of laughing and fun the whole time,” said Storm. “I believe that even though they have the memory problems that they do now they can make memories by living in the moment.”
Windsor Reflections is located at 8230 Natures Way, Lakewood Ranch.