An intergenerational arts project enabling care home residents and nursery children to work with professional artists and be creative together has been resoundingly positive for both groups, strengthening community bonds, improving wellbeing and raising staff expectations about what participants are capable of.

 

ArtFelt, a unique collaboration between Starcatchers and Luminate, Scotland’s Creative Ageing Organisation saw children at Forbes Nursery, Edinburgh visit elderly residents at nearby Morlich House and collaborate on a range of artistic and creative activities including sewing, craft, painting, drawing and singing.

 

The artists encouraged both children and residents to take on new challenges beyond their comfort zone.

 

Sewing activities were considered risky and challenging for both groups but participants rose to the challenge. This and the beautiful artistic creations produced during this pilot project has encouraged both nursery and care home staff to shift their expectations and be more ambitious about what those in their care are capable of.

 

The process of creating art together encouraged interaction and teamwork which helped build strong intergenerational bonds. Staff observed residents and children laughing and giggling together, even giving each other high fives and tens, and care home staff in particular noted residents’ “joy and happiness after each session”.

 

For care home residents the process, creation and documentation of artwork was a helpful memory aide, particularly beneficial for those with dementia or poor short-term memory.

 

Read the full project report here.