Having a creative outlet to express one’s emotions is a highly valuable way of maintaining good mental health. Art therapy has become increasingly popular within aged care to provide residents with a method to share how they are feeling in a safe and welcoming environment. Regis Frankston has recently held their first session with Sandy Buchanan, a certified art therapist who is a familiar face at the Home as their counsellor. After the first session’s success, art therapy will now be a regular part of the Lifestyle Program at Regis Frankston.  

The activity centered around an Australian theme, with wooden cut outs of the map of Australia being the canvas residents had to work with. This sparked reminiscent conversations about growing up in Australia and first impressions for those who had migrated to the country.  

However, one of the highlights of this activity occurred once it had concluded. Sandy told the team at Regis Frankston that some residents “were having the most touching conversation,” demonstrating the positive effects of being in a comfortable environment.  

Sandy developed a fully sensory experience by creating a warm, quiet, and inviting environment. The initiative invited many residents to open up about their innermost feelings, experiences, and personal stories.  

“Sandy is very engaging, warm and has the ability to draw out emotions and conversations whilst building confidence,” Lifestyle Coordinator, Tracey, shared.  

The team will continue to encourage residents to get involved in the valuable experience. Tracey stated, “one thing that I do know is that residents just want to belong, be validated as people and be listened to, and the Lifestyle Team at Regis Frankston will always try their best to provide the platform to do so.” 

Art Therapy is a valuable way for residents to feel comfortable expressing their emotions through a creative avenue. It is another outlet that allows residents to show how they feel without necessarily using words, as it is a safe and welcoming environment. It is also a rewarding activity, allowing a sense of accomplishment and pride in their work; “it’s a safe space to try something new.” Art Therapy has been introduced in the Lifestyle Calendar across many Homes and has already seen positive effects among our residents.