How art is boosting Warwickshire care home residents wellbeing

A care home and its residents said art and music had given them "a purpose" and helped them build a community.

Activities at Low Furlong care home in Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire, have had a huge impact on wellbeing, they said. 

Residents had also made soaps and candles for their craft stall to raise money for a seaside trip, it added.

A study from Age UK found that creative activities significantly improved wellbeing for people aged over 60.

Studies suggest art may benefit people living with dementia, helping to spark memories and provide a sense of accomplishment.

Meriel Everett lives at Low Furlong care home and has dementia. 

The 93-year-old was a concert pianist for more than 60 years and her piano now sits in the care home lounge where it reminds her of her past. 

Her daughter, Penny Varley, regularly visits for piano sessions, which she said leave Mrs Everett with a "smile on her face and mentally engaged".

Ms Varley said the piano triggers her mother's memories of the past and reminds her of why she loved music. 

"She loved to paint and create ceramics," said Penny. Her paintings are now displayed on the walls in her room.

Also living in the home is Don Burston, who worked in the national service and had his own packaging company.

The 90-year-old started creating art when he was 14 and attended art night school.

"I join in with every care home activity. It makes me feel without a doubt less lonely," said the father of three. 

"The care home choir is very rewarding, it helps to keep me occupied," he said, adding it reminded him of happy memories as a choir boy.

Margaret Shaw is 101 years old and worked in a linen factory until World War Two broke out. 

The mother-of-three cooks in the care home and said: "I love to cook. I used to go in for baking competitions and always got first prize. I'm really good at scones."

Mrs Shaw has always loved to sing and was part of the church choir when she was younger.

She is part of the care home choir and said: "I like it when everyone joins in." 

The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has created resources to encourage care homes to get residents engaged in arts.

SCIE hopes to inspire and bring health benefits to residents.