Red Deer College art pilot project brings nursing students, seniors with dementia together

A 10-week art program at Red Deer College brought seniors and students together to collaborate on art projects.

The Opening Minds through Art program partnered people living with dementia with bachelor of science nursing students at the college. The students guided the seniors through weekly art projects.

“This is a pilot project, and it’st he first year that OMA has been available to any seniors’ facility in Central Alberta and RDC Students,” said Shireen Bell, nursing instructor. “This project was made possible through our practicum agreement with Points West Living Red Deer and through training and facilitation support of Alzheimer Society of Alberta and North West Territories.

“This project is truly a community-based partnership.”

Stephanie Aubuchon, a second-year nursing student, said she knew she was making a difference.

“I worked with the same artist throughout the program and we developed a special relationship,” she said, in a release. “He would wait for me each week, making sure he was ready when I came, and he was always so proud of what he created.”

At the end of the program, 40 pieces of art were sold at silent auction at an OMA art show on Dec. 6. The proceeds from the sale went back into the program to purchase future supplies.

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