Activities And Art For Residents At Care Homes

About The Project

Residents of care facilities may have numerous opportunity to exercise their imaginations, form relationships, and reflect. Participating in the arts gives residents a chance to express themselves, pick up a new skill (or brush up on an old one), and develop a stronger sense of personal identity—something that can occasionally be lost in care. Hartismere Place in Eye offers senior citizens residential, nursing, and dementia care as a part of Care UK, the largest independent provider of care in the nation. The Dunhill Medical Trust helped Paintings in Hospitals introduce art and creativity into care facilities in the East of England to enhance the health and wellness of frail elderly people. The collaborated with three Care UK care facilities, including Hartismere, and their residents and staff.

Their idea was thoughtfully created to assist inhabitants of care homes in three different ways. They sought to:

  • Give residents the information and assurance they need to feel more in control of their care facility’s environment.
  • Humanise the healthcare setting and provide inhabitants more interesting visuals.
  • Create opportunities for self-expression, memory-building, and loneliness reduction through social engagement.

These were the types of activities:

  • A workshop on choosing artwork that includes a group discussion on the connection between art and memories and a preference poll.
  • An artistic clay sculpture workshop that was inspired by the birds in the selected artworks.

The residents in the discussion session grew animated and intensely involved with some gentle inspiration and encouragement. They were led through an informal discussion about how they felt about various pieces of art, and several of the attendees related memories that the art they were seeing brought to mind. The subsequent sculpture-making workshop gave the participants a fresh experience and was a joyful and expressive event that set the tone for additional activities at the care facility.


The response to the new art exhibit at Hartismere Place and Paintings In Hospitals art workshop was tremendously positive, with several residents and staff requesting more. Their sculpture-making class used air-drying clay, which the seniors had never used before and found enjoyable. It was inspired by the initial artwork discussion session.

Each participating resident created their own bird sculpture using the new artworks in the care facility as a guide, talking about the artworks, the birds, their shapes, and colors along the way. Married inhabitants of the nursing home talked about the birds they had seen and enjoyed in the past. Additionally, they talked about their previous cat as a pet and their time spent married. The group was continually chit-chatting with one another over the design of their bird sculpture. Residents were able to colour each sculpture once it had dried, giving them life. It is intended that, if they choose, they would be able to display them in their rooms or other areas of the care facility.

For senior persons who were relegated to nonverbal communication, using clay to communicate themselves proved to be a highly effective method. Additionally, it has been demonstrated to be a soothing sensory event for dementia patients. In this workshop, the process and the act of creation are even more significant than the finished product. The resident was unable to verbally communicate their enjoyment of their sculpting experience, but one caregiver observed that they had never before seen them so involved and concentrated on a work.

Future Steps

For the following two years, Hartismere Place featured the final 10 artworks that would have the greatest positive influence on inhabitants’ wellness. Caregivers felt more capable of organizing similar events in the future after taking part in the clay sculpture workshop with Paintings in Hospitals. In order to ensure ongoing contact and the creation of meaningful connections with the residents’ new art, options for additional Paintings in Hospitals art engagement activities, such as additional art-making workshops inspired by the paintings on display, are available.


Art In Hospitals (no date) Case study: Art and activities for Care Home Residents, Paintings in Hospitals. Available at: (Accessed: 10 July 2023).

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About the author : Andrew Warren