ARTISTIC nurse Gerri Beaney has been creating works of art for elderly residents at the Tyneside care home where she works.
A Lake District landscape and a flower tattoo are just some of the artworks drawn by Gerri, who works at Willowdene Care Home, on Victoria Road West, Hebburn.
The Lake District scene was created in water colours for resident Michael Bush, as he used to love walking in the Cumbrian national park. It has been framed and hung at the foot of his bed, so he can recall fond memories every night before going to sleep.
The flower tattoo design was drawn for resident Sheila James, who had always wanted to get a tattoo but now lives with Parkinson’s Disease and is unable to fulfil her dream.
The floral design has three leaves on the stem representing her three daughters and a large single leaf representing her husband Terry who visits her every day at Willowdene care Home. Sheila is represented by the daisy in the middle and the sunshine rays behind the flower represent important family and friends in her life, including her grandchildren.
Gerri said: “Working with the elderly in a care home is more than just giving out tablets. We have a duty to look after our residents’ wellbeing in all sorts of ways and, if by drawing a picture I can brighten their day or rekindle a memory for them, I feel I should.
“Many of our staff have different talents and use them for the benefit of the residents. Lizzie, our cook, is a superb artist and some of her drawings are on display in the home. Christine, our activities organiser, is a seamstress and she often brings her sewing machine in for various activities.”
Gerri has been a Registered General Nurse (RGN) for over 30 years but has always had a passion for drawing and painting. She gained an A Level in Art before pursuing a degree in the History of Art at Sterling University.
After she embarked on a nursing career, she continued to draw for her own pleasure and for family and friends, exhibiting her work at The Artworks, in Newcastle, in 2013.
She has sold commissions in the past and once drew a picture of Harry Potter character Dobbie as a present for a friend, which she sold to a shop assistant at the framing shop before drawing a replacement.
Michael Beaney, home manager at Willowdene Care Home, said: “We always provide a personalised care service and that means learning about residents’ passions, interests and hobbies.
“Gerri has been using her skills as an artist to transfer those passions to paper and it has meant so much to the residents.
“A landscape drawing can be more than a pretty picture to hang on the wall – it can elicit fond memories and transport a resident into their past, to a place they love and may not be able to visit anymore.
“All our staff go above and beyond their roles to support our residents in a wide variety of ways and I could not be prouder of the team and the high quality, personalised care they provide.”