Monday, March 17, 2014

A time for the warm-hearted!

"Old age," so it's said, "is not for the faint-hearted."
To which I'm tempted to add, nor for those deprived of an outlet for their care and creativity.

This was brought home to me very forcibly the other week.  As I've mentioned before, Chloe is registered with the Pets As Therapy charity and, in this role, visits the local nursing home every Friday.  There's no denying the pleasure she brings, but her greatest gift to date was totally unexpected.

Chloe's birthday was approaching and, knowing that Tina, one of her most doting admirers, had been a talented artist,  an idea occurred to me.
What if this event could re-ignite Tina's creativity?

On our next visit to the nursing home I took with me a sketch-book and pencils, together with a favourite photo of Chloe for her to copy.  But Tina was listless and distracted, the idea didn't seem propitious.
"If you happen to feel like a little sketching before our next visit," I suggested without much hope, "Chloe would be thrilled to have her portrait drawn for her birthday."

I was totally unprepared for what was awaiting us  the following week.

The enfeebled, elderly invalid had gone.  Instead, I was greeted by to a bright-eyed, eager artist . . . an artist keen to present Chloe with a beautifully sketched birthday present.

True, it was Chloe's antics and personality that had endeared her to Tina in the first place.  But it was the artist's own creativity that had responded and, in so doing, produced a memorable gift.

Nor was that the end of the story.  We had only ever seen Tina in her own room, often lying anxious and uncertain on her bed.  To my considerable surprise, the following week found her smartly dressed seated with others in the communal sitting-room.  She had rediscovered her creativity and, with it, her interest in all that was going on around her.

I was reminded of Tina the other day when I read the heart-warming story of HenPower.

Have you heard of this inspired project?
It was launched by Equal Arts with aim of reducing isolation in the elderly and of increasing their sense of well being.
Not surprisingly, the scheme has proved a remarkable success.

In their own words:
"HenPower helps set up hen-keeping in older people's care settings to offer fun and stimulating activities for residents, families and other independent living older people.

Each care setting is supported by a small network of volunteers who either know about hens or enjoy looking after hens.  Each project also has weekly activities based around hen-keeping which could include creative writing, digital photography, local history or other creative activities which the residents want to try out."

Would you like to see the hens in action?
I'm sure you would!

By clicking here, you can meet the HenMen and witness the wonders of HenPower for yourself . . . positive proof, should you need it, that old age is for the warm-hearted.

Just one thing  . . .   I'd rather you didn't mention the hens to Chloe!