Home Press Releases Drawing helps 89-year-old Simon deal with dementia
PORTRAIT drawing is helping a Teesside care home resident come to terms with his dementia – and he is now holding classes to help others with the condition.
89-year-old Bryan Raine – who prefers to go by Simon – moved to Mandale House Care Home, on Acklam Road, Thornaby, in November 2022 after he was diagnosed with dementia.
Since then, he has been using drawing to explore his feelings and help his memory. With a preference for portraits, Simon has been sketching fellow residents, as well as everyday objects such as a pushchair and trees.
He has also started teaching the care home’s activities coordinator, Ella-Mae Storr, who has set up art classes for Simon to pass on his knowledge to other residents and staff.
Simon said: “I know I have this thing called dementia, and I get foggy and confused. The drawing helps me to express how I’m feeling, which really helps. Seeing my drawings on the board helps to remind me of when I drew it.”
Ella-Mae said: “Sometimes Simon gets a bit distressed but when we draw together it helps him to feel calm and centred.
“He loves using his imagination and creativity and it’s really great that he wants to share that with his fellow-residents and staff.”
Simon’s love of art came from his mother, who he says had a “real talent” and taught him how to draw.
Simon recalled: “My mother was an excellent drawer but only pursued it as a hobby, as young ladies in those days weren’t allowed to do it as a job, so growing up I learnt it from her.
“I never thought about doing it as a profession and I’ve always seen it as a hobby to express myself. I was a surveyor. I have a daughter, who I’ve tried to teach, but she’s never taken to it. Instead, she knows how to milk a cow as she has her own farm, whereas I don’t.
“My favourite thing to draw is portraits but I’m not as good as my mother. I envy her in all her work. She’s brilliant. She had a real talent in drawing.
“I’ve never taught classes until I moved to Mandale House, where I’ve been working with the activities coordinator and we now sit and draw together and are planning on teaching staff members and residents who are willing.
“I enjoy teaching people how to draw so they learn something new, as it’s so simple to look at something, picture it and to draw it down in your own artistic touch.”
The care home staff are now planning on exhibiting Simon’s work, as well as that of those he teaches during the weekly art classes.
Simon added: “I’ve never seen any of my drawings exhibited. I would love for my work to be displayed in our home, especially staff portraits, for us all to see our creations.”
Tracy Hill, home manager at Mandale House Care Home, said: “Living with dementia can be incredibly difficult but staying mentally active can be a great help in relieving stress, improving wellbeing, and helping individuals cope with the disease.
“For Simon, drawing has been a great benefit, and he has been loving his one-on-one arts sessions with our activities coordinator, Ella-Mae.
“Now he is very excited about passing on his passion, skills, and knowledge to others, with his weekly art classes for fellow residents and staff. I know we have a great deal of interest among everyone here.
“We’re all looking forward to seeing their drawings displayed prominently on the walls, which visitors will be able to look at when they drop by to see their loved ones.”
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