Many aged care residents who participated in an aged care provider-run art competition say it has boosted their confidence and provided a sense of peace and relaxation.

Arcare Aged Care launched its first art competition in October to kickstart the Christmas festivities across all 42 of its aged care communities in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.

John Devlin with his award

All residents and staff were encouraged to submit original artworks for the competition and the six winning submissions will now be used for Arcare’s Christmas and all occasion cards.

The competition drew more than 100 submissions, which were judged by the organisation’s state operations managers, CEO Colin Singh and more than 700 members of the public via Arcare’s website and Facebook page.

Among the winners is 83-year-old Arcare Hope Island resident John Delvin, who only took up painting in aged care.

Mr Delvin, who won the Christmas bonus choice category, said he was honoured to win.

“It is truly an amazing feeling to be recognised for an activity like painting, something that I had never done before moving into Arcare. I always felt that I wasn’t good enough and I had no talent,” Mr Delvin said.

John Devlin’s Starry Night painting

Mr Devlin attributes his new love of painting to Arcare lifestyle assistant Michelle Shields.  

“Michelle was able to break my self-doubt and encourage me to learn new experiences and enjoy them. I can share my accomplishments with my wife and fellow residents who are now eager to participate in the painting class,” he said.

“I can’t believe the effect it has had on me; it’s made me feel that I now fit in and belong together with like-minded people. It has truly been a journey of self-discovery.”

Shirley Yeates with her painting

Executive’s choice – Christmas category winner and Arcare Sydenham resident Shirley Yeates, 74, said she loves painting because it is relaxing.

“It takes my mind off things that I do tend to worry about,” Ms Yeates said.

She said she was thrilled to win because she had never entered a competition before.

“I am truly appreciative with this acknowledgement.”

Arcare Aged Care CEO Colin Singh said the art competition has created a sense of pride and accomplishment among residents.

“For our very first Arcare art competition, the aim was to celebrate the creativity within our Arcare communities and showcase the unique skills and talents of residents and team members,” Mr Singh told Australian Ageing Agenda.

Colin Singh

“[Residents] are really enjoying it; they are very excited to see their own designs printed on our Christmas and all-occasion cards and to share these with friends and families.”

Arcare plans to make the art competition a yearly event, he said.

“Some of the residents are already planning their designs for next year’s competition,” he said.

The winning submissions are being professionally printed and can for ordered from December. All winners will receive a pack of cards showing their artwork and a gift voucher.

The winners for each category are:

  • Janet Wear – People’s Choice – Christmas
  • Shirley Yeates – Executive’s Choice – Christmas
  • John Devlin – Bonus Choice – Christmas
  • Pam Walsh – People’s Choice – All Occasion
  • Vera Ash – Executive’s Choice – All Occasion
  • Monty Meadows – Bonus Choice – All Occasion

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