ConnectAbility Australia supports the promotion of arts activities and artists through our innovative creative program.
It is led by Susan Porteous, Arts Facilitator for ConnectAbility who has a degree in fine arts and a bachelor in Community Services. In 2015, she was awarded a NSW Disability Industry (NDS) Innovation Award for ‘ Excellence in individualised decision support & service provision’ for improving the social and economic participation of people with disability. Susan is committed to ensuring that people with a disability achieve individual outcomes from the arts programs. This program creates a fantastic opportunity for people with a disability to develop skills, experience and independence through recreational art activities.
Programs and activities are uniquely tailored so that every person has an individual outcomes based upon their goals.
Bright Stars – Art in aged care
One of the successes of the 2015/2016 year was the introduction of our Bright Stars art program.
Developed as an idea of extending outcomes achieved within ConnectAbility’s already successful art program the idea has blossomed into a project that is providing far reaching benefits to those involved.
In February Maroba Aged Care Facility at Waratah agreed to be part of a trial program looking at the benefits of a structured, strength based art program that focused on the processes of art and outcomes for individuals and the aged care facility.
Based on research that suggested the loss of skills such as fine motor and memory retention could be partially overcome through art, a specific program was developed for a group of residents at Maroba.
The service delivers the program according to the specific needs of each group. Individual needs are assessed by ConnectAbility’s Arts Coordinator in consultation with the staff of the facility. Each program is designed as unique to the needs of the individual and the group. The activities focus on the interests and skills of the individuals.
Each week people set about creating beautiful art projects that they share with family and other residents.
Evidence collected indicates that the residents engaged in the program have better health and well being outcomes. This included them being more engaged in other activities within the facility, a rise in self esteem, confidence and concentration, fostering of friendship and teamwork amongst the group and improved fine and gross motor skills.
While this was perhaps expected, it was other benefits that were seen as important. Family members started attending classes with their parents/family member and enjoyed sharing experiences, some of which were unknown to them.
The art process assisted many to reconnect with themselves, their lives and achievements. For those suffering from the diseases of ageing such as dementia even signing their name on their art provided them a skill to improve their memory and sense of self.
The facility was also able to include art works in other aspects of the facility such as using the drawings in a cookbook, having art in the foyer or examples on a website.