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How art makes a difference for seniors aging in place

05 4.27.17_cc2.art PAGEA client at Catholic Charities Adult Day Services San Mateo County works on an art project. (Courtesy photo)

April 27, 2017
Catholic Charities

Second in a three-part series on Catholic Charities Sunday

Art projects are often associated with children. But at Catholic Charities Adult Day Services in San Francisco and San Mateo County and Catholic Charities OMI Senior Center in San Francisco, it’s seniors who are picking up the paintbrush.

Through art activities like painting, drawing and crafts, seniors facing a broad spectrum of physical and cognitive challenges are able to embrace their talents, skills and wisdom through artistic expression. Clients work on different individual and collaborative projects every month, ranging from jewelry making, melting and painting old records, papier mache to more sophisticated artwork like creating 3D art, ceramic art pieces for the garden, and elaborate oil paintings.

“We have seen the most profound transformations in many of our clients through the benefits of art activities – be they therapeutic or recreational,” said Patty Clement-Cihak, Catholic Charities Aging Support Services division director. “What is unique about art, is that many people don’t think they can do art, but we are able to find their hidden passions and talents. Art helps our seniors express themselves in ways they otherwise would be unable to do.”

Catholic Charities offers a safe, therapeutic, and caring environment for low-income seniors with advanced physical and cognitive treatment needs. “Our services promote quality of life and enable seniors to live with safety, dignity and the greatest possible independence in the community, regardless of their economic, social or health circumstances,” Clement-Cihak said.

Programming is structured and aimed at helping seniors prevent the worsening of chronic age-related illnesses, which are the result of strokes, age-related illnesses or dementia. Art activities keep aging adults and adults with disabilities stimulated, engaged and alert, all while allowing them to express their emotions creatively.

“We believe seniors should be allowed to age in place with dignity,” said Jeff Bialik, Catholic Charities executive director. “Our Aging Support Services help not only seniors, but their caregivers. Thank you to everyone in the Archdiocese whose gifts of time, talent and treasure have made our work possible.”

Learn more about how you can volunteer or make a gift at CatholicCharitiesSF.org.

Catholic Charities Sunday is the annual second collection that supports Catholic Charities. This year’s collection will be on May 13-14. Last year, parishioners collectively contributed more than $221,683 to change the lives of our neighbors in need.

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