Linda McGregor-Hurry, 75, has experienced firsthand the positive effects of having her art publicly displayed at a Covenant Health site in Edmonton.
“Some of the things that the ladies and gentlemen said were awesome. It made me feel really good,” she says.
Linda is a client of Covenant Health’s Community Geriatric Psychiatry Westmount Day program, a referral-based service situated within the shopping centre to support seniors in the community through the stages of mental health recovery. She recently participated in the Evolution of These Hands Expressive Art Exhibit organized for clients and staff. The exhibit was an opportunity to showcase individual and collective talents and to help clients build confidence in their abilities.
The clients were asked to reflect on all the things they’ve done in their lives and create an artistic representation for display.
“The idea was to get them thinking about all the things that they’ve nurtured, created and touched over the years,” says Kristi Getz, the recreation therapist for the program, who organized the exhibit with her colleagues.
“It’s often important for people to be reminded of all the amazing things they’ve done and that they still have value to add to the world in their later years,” Kristi says.
“Especially for those who had strong ties to their career identity, it can be really hard for them to make that transition to retirement, to still feel useful and feel like they have something to contribute.”
While Kristi believes the day program’s clients enjoyed seeing their work displayed, she hopes they also left the exhibit with something that sticks with them going forward.
“The hope was that they would really feel seen and go home with a sense of accomplishment and validation of what they’re capable of doing.”
Kristi isn’t sure the program will run the exhibit again next year, but she knows that it will continue to pursue the same goal in one form or another.
“We want to continue working towards providing forums to not only celebrate what people are able to do and have done but also to share those experiences with a collective audience that genuinely wants to hear what they have to say.”
Having those opportunities is important to clients like Linda. She plans to continue participating in the Community Geriatric Psychiatry Westmount Day program and encourages her peers to join as well.
“I would never give up this program. It’s so good for seniors. I would recommend it for anyone who needs even the smallest helping hand.”