Denise has been studying and teaching art and painting for 40+ years. She has won numerous prestigious awards for her art and design.
Meaningful Way to Share My Art
For 14 years I created and ran a series of art therapy classes for senior citizens in my town. It all started when I called around town one summer looking for ways to use my art teaching skills for the community. After calling a number of agencies, I ended up being transferred to the Parks and Recreation Department, which had a community service division furnishing lunches for senior citizens. The director of the program was intrigued when I said I could offer art classes in watercolor for a reasonable fee. She said she would ask around the seniors to see if they were interested and hung up. I figured I would never hear from her again.
However two weeks later she called back and said that the seniors were indeed interested in painting and she had been looking for interesting things for the seniors to do while waiting for lunch. She thought that this could be just the thing.
When I came into her office to iron out the details she made it clear to me that I was not a permanent employee of the city. I had NO job security and as soon as the seniors were no longer interested, I was OUT. I was okay with that since I figured I had only been looking for something to fill in the summer months. When the school year started in September, I usually had gigs going to grammar school classrooms with my art lessons. Imagine my surprise and astonishment when it lasted 14 years. It may have lasted longer if it had not been for the severe budget cuts that finally hit the city Parks and Recs.
4 Things I Learned
Over the years I learned many things about the senior citizens and art therapy, some of which I am sharing here. If you ever want to start an art therapy class of your own, you should keep these things in mind.
The elderly really don’t want to learn new skills, like how to draw.
In the beginning, I brought blank paper and pencils thinking I would teach them how to draw simple things like flowers and trees. Most of them looked at me with those sweet faces and begged me to do that part for them. After several weeks I got the 411. They just wanted to paint. A little like kids with a coloring book, they didn’t want to do the designing, just the fun part of filling in the lines with color. After that, I drew all the pictures at home using a stencil I created myself. In this way, I passed out the paper with the design already drawn on and we could all sit down to paint together. It made things very happy for everyone.
“Fine Art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together”
— John Ruskin
They all wanted me to paint with them so they could see the steps.
I brought a completed painting for everyone to see and then had to paint another one with them to show them how I got the completed picture. This meant for the 10 to 15 classes I taught each week, I had to paint one at each and ended up with 10 to 15 copies of the same painting. After a while, it was fun to see the variations I could come up with on the same drawing and theme.
In the beginning, I came up with paintings I thought would be interesting and fun for them and me. I saw right away that what I could complete in relatively little time, took the seniors much longer and often took more skill level than they could muster. After a while, I managed to gauge the average skill level by figuring if I could complete the sample painting in 15 minutes, then they may possibly be able to do the same in 1 hour. Also, I had to include a large space with a flat wash color and only a few final fine details. It was the fine details that they were intrigued by but often had trouble seeing well and completing with accuracy, so I made these as few and simple as possible. Some of the seniors really surprised me and over the years developed a real feel for the intricacies of painting. They got better and better the longer they painted with me.
“How important are the visual arts in our society? I feel strongly that the visual arts are of vast and incalculable importance. Of course, I could be prejudiced. I am a visual art.”
— Kermit the Frog
The elderly also love a good story.
I did find a few times when things got very quiet. We, artists, love quiet but when I was teaching I was always afraid of being boring. So I started learning and memorizing stories about famous artists. I made it a game telling a story about an artist without giving the name of the artist until the end. Some could guess who it was and others were just entertained. Later some of my faithful painters told me they kept coming back, not because of the painting (although they enjoyed that part) but because of the stories. I became known as the storyteller. Kind of funny when you think I only did it because I was afraid of being uninteresting.
“It does not matter how badly you paint, so long as you don’t paint badly like other people.”
— George Moore: Confessions of a Young Man
Art therapy for senior citizens is rewarding, more than you will ever know.
I loved my elderly painters. Some came with vision problems and after a decade or so they painted like pros. Others had poor hand coordination, tremors, and advanced arthritis, but their dexterity improved as they painted. I think it has something to do with using the creative side of the brain during painting. Still, others came because they had lost a beloved spouse and their children were afraid they had given up. This happened with a dozen or more of the 100 seniors who came to my classes each week. Coming to the center and painting once a week gave them a reason to get up and get dressed. One year, a sweet lady’s 8 children came and gave me a cake. They surrounded me and each thanked me for saving their mother’s life. They were sure after their father had passed that she had given up and there would soon be another funeral. But when she started painting with me she developed a renewed interest in life, and they said she wouldn’t miss my class for anything. They had me in tears.
Art therapy and painting for senior citizens is rewarding, more than you will ever know.
Questions & Answers
Question: How do I start in the beginning stage with senior citizens?
Answer: Set up a place where there is enough room for everyone to have a foot of so on each side of them and their paper, lay out all the supplies and paper and have a sample of the end painting they are all shooting to copy set up where they can all see it. I set a small table easel at the end of each rectangular table so they could look up at it as they painted their painting. Make sure the room is comfortable and air-conditioned. A barn will not do in the summer or winter months because senior citizens are too sensitive to heat and cold. I've seen well-meaning people set up tables in their garage or barn thinking it was the perfect space for classes because the cleanup would be minimal but the area was so hot and intolerable that I couldn't stand it let alone the seniors. Once you have space and tables, allow for enough time for each picture to be completed. It was hard at first for me to gauge how much time seniors would need to complete a small painting but I began to realize that too many details like little houses and flowers were just too much for the seniors. I started making landscapes with large areas of color washes that could be laid in quickly with a few swipes and only a few small details for interest. This made an interesting painting they could complete in just a little over an hour.
Question: I'm just starting in the field as an independent contractor/arts facilitator, and I have no idea how I can charge for my services. What's a reasonable fee for senior centers, for example? I would greatly appreciate any leads you may have.
Answer: Before you ask for an hourly wage, consider that you will spend as much time at home prepping for each class as you do in class. So say, if you ask for $10 an hour you will be really making about $5 an hour. I asked for $25 an hour and felt that was conservative. They may not have that in the budget and if not, you have to ask yourself if you are willing to make the sacrifice for the greater good you will be doing for the elderly. I know I did. It was 1998 when I started and they offered me $14 an hour. I jumped at it because I felt that that would be increased over time. In 2010 I was still making the same $14 an hour because they said I was at the "ceiling" they were able to offer for part-time temporary employees. How many years do you have to work before they consider you better than part-time temporary? Anyway, you will want to think about that in the beginning. Also think, if you need to travel from one site to another, will you be offered milage or transportation compensation. Consider how many hours you will be offered per week and if you will be able to fill the rest of the hours with more work elsewhere. Also, the biggest thing for me was that they cover the cost of supplies on top of my wage. I was very conservative in the choice of paints and paper to work with so as not to overburden the city Parks department who were paying me, but it was essential that they cover all that up front.
Question: How do I start to work with senior citizens in the beginning stage?
Answer: I have said it before, but you really should find a sponsor to pay you for your time and materials. The seniors usually are on a fixed income and cannot afford to pay for the joy of painting that you are offering. I began working with the seniors through the city parks and recreation department (under the recreation part of it) but you could also talk a retirement community into supporting you or an convalescent hospital/home. Check around to see who might be interested in starting a painting class type of activity on a weekly or monthly basis. If you just jump in and start classes paying for the paper and materials yourself on a volunteer basis, the authorities may feel that they shouldn't have to pay or help out with something you were willing to do for free. After you have funding and advertise that classes will begin on a certain date and time, make sure you are there on time. Seniors don't like having to wait and will go find something else to do. After you are established as coming regularly, they will be there faithfully waiting for you. Create simple project paintings that even the most unskilled painters will feel they accomplished something fine and fantastic. You don't want them to go away feeling that they are failures. They won't return if that happens. I tried not to make it too simplistic but also not too complicated. I also drew out the picture for them on the paper before I came. They don't want to learn how to draw; they just want to paint. This why I began using stencils, because I was drawing dozens of the same picture over and over again each week for the seniors to paint. Finally, enjoy them and their conversation. I found with little provocation they will tell you their life story. Many times it is fascinating.
Question: What are the limits to be with the senior citizens?
Answer: There are very few limits to working with senior citizens. Working for the city parks department, I was fingerprinted, and my background checked, although I doubt that they were worried that I might be selling drugs to seniors. It was mostly a formality in working for the city. Unless you are calling yourself a therapist or some official title, you won't have much in the way of limits restricting you. You will want to show that you have a love of the art you are doing and a love of sharing it with people. You will need to show patience and tolerance for the handicaps that many seniors endure. I doubt that a racist or an intolerant person who doesn't like people speaking Spanish or some other language than English will get very far with the seniors. Other than that, enjoy the process.
Question: What would be a good supply list for senior watercolor classes?
Answer: I think I have listed most of the supplies before. Start with paper. You must provide a good quality heavy weight paper that will withstand the use of lots of water. I chose an 80 lb cover weight printer paper with a texture called Classic Laid. It is cheaper than the professional 100% rag 140 lb top-quality watercolor paper so it is affordable for the students. The Classic Laid comes in sheets of 35" x 23" and I tore it in quarters to give us a nice large size but not so large to take hours to finish a painting.
For paint, I chose the Winsor & Newton Cotman series tube paint. It has a lovely deep color without being too expensive to afford. I recommend against using children's quality pot paint sets. The color is weak and spreads poorly. It will discourage your students from even trying. The Cotman colors are so brilliant that the novice will be encouraged by its spread, mixing, and brilliance. With these colors, you will need to have pallets to squeeze the colors into.
As for brushes, you can get away with only two if you must be conservative. I prefer synthetic hair brushes made for watercolor. Get both "round," a fine brush #2 and a large #8 up to #10. After those, if you can afford more brushes, get one half inch flat.
Beyond these staples, you need towels for every student, a cup for water with a wide bottom to prevent tipping for each, and a table easel to hold up the inspirational photograph, drawing, or painting for all to see.
These are the most important supplies you need for senior watercolor classes. I also got a box to hold all the supplies and a hand trolly to pull the supplies to each location.
Question: Do you have recommendations for accommodating hard of hearing clients? Is it patronizing to address the issue with the class?
Answer: It may be awkward to address the issue of hearing within the classroom setting. Other than knowing some rudimentary sign language, I'm not sure what else can be done for the hard of hearing. Gratefully, my watercolor classes were very visual and with only a few instructions to begin, most students follow their own muse and paint the way they want. With that in mind, this is perfect for the hard of hearing. They really don't need to hear to enjoy the process fully. My senior citizens spent much time chatting during the painting time, most without looking up from their papers. That in itself may be something the hard of hearing would miss out on but not the painting process itself. My friends and family who are hard of hearing know how to read lips and if that is the case, instruction should be made to people conversing with the hard of hearing, not to turn away from them while talking.
Art Therapy Guestbook: please leave comments and remarks here.
Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 09, 2020:
I don't have a guide really. I just prepared art lessons and when other subjects or emotional issues came up we talked about them. I use the art as a guide and a prompter. Thanks for asking.
Janniece on December 25, 2019:
I enjoy working with the elders and would like to know is there a certain "guide" you use while having these art therapy sessions?
Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on December 11, 2019:
It is true that not everyone wants to work with the elderly or has the ability to. It was a joy for me and I'm really sorry that the city cut funding for my program. I still see many of my elderly students but not all of them. Thanks for commenting.
Devika Primic on November 28, 2019:
It is a great way to make lives of others feel good and less stressful. You hub is informative, thoughtful and well-researched. To see how much you can offer to the elderly is a gift that not everyone would have and think of doing as you do.
Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 28, 2019:
What a wonderful idea. I would love a CriCut but can't afford it just now. Someday! I'm so glad you are providing such a wonderful service for the people who need it most. Thanks for commenting.
Marge Burkholder on May 27, 2019:
Your article is so right on. I have been designing and facilitating watercolor classes for about 15 years. I began doing it because I was working at a nursing facility and thought the residents needed something different and new. How right I was, they love my classes and I have several who have been coming the whole 15 years. I go to Nursing and assisted living facilities. This is my supplemental income to Social Security now that I have retired. I supply everything needed so I charge a bit more than you did. I cut the paper to fit nicely in a matted 8X10 frame because the families love their artwork and many frame them up. Another useful idea is I use contact paper as a mask. I seals well and removes easily. I recently got a Cricut which makes cutting the designs much easier and faster.
Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 24, 2019:
Thank you. I loved teaching the children also. I still have young people come to me on the street or in gatherings and ask if I remember them and how I influenced their life and pursuit of art. I, of course, don't remember every child I taught back in the day. I think that the adults are easier to remember and connect with. Thanks for commenting.
Susan Marquez on May 23, 2019:
Thank you Denise for sharing your insight and experiences working with the elderly it’s really wonderful and inspiring to me as I embark on my path teaching art to seniors.
I’ve always wanted to teach art to children because of the joy I felt as a child making art. As adults I think we become disconnected from our child like joy in play and creativity. Your story you shared about the gentleman with dementia was moving and such a wonderful example of someone being able to connect to their creativity and express themselves without the restraints or imposed ideas of their caregivers or teacher.
Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 03, 2019:
I'm very sorry but I live in California and the commute would be a little rough. Thank you for asking. I suggest you contact your local Art's Council to see if someone they know is interested.
Sandra Houle on May 03, 2019:
We need an Art teacher for a small group of Seniors, 6-8 .
We are all at different levels and like to draw,paint and use different types mediums.
We use to meet once a week for 2 hours with our teacher.
She unfortunately moved.
Paid out our pockets for the lessons.
Manchester New Hampshire
Dana on May 02, 2019:
Thank you Denise :-) I lost my password and couldn't get in...I appreciate your answer. Wonderful work!
Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 23, 2019:
Thank you Dana. I appreciate your kind words. To be sure I have made myself clear right upfront, I want you to know that I don’t have a degree in art therapy, only a masters in art and illustration. However I did have both seniors with and without dementia and other disabilities in my watercolor classes over the 14 years I taught for the city Parks department and beyond when I taught for the adult education department. In terms of skill level there was very little difference with those with and without. However, I had more stories to share from those with dementia. They often were more in tuned to their mood and painted using colors accordingly. I remember one man was often being hovered over by the caregivers trying to correct him to stay in the lines provided on the painting. But he, never speaking a word, wanted to just paint the whole paper red or orange. It wasn’t until I explained to the caregivers that it was a “red day” and to let him get that out, that they relaxed. After that we often commented on the color of the day because of the colors he quietly preferred. Sometimes it was a black day and sometimes a blue day. He was always in a good up mood when it was a yellow day or an orange one. Often he would use more than one color and would blend them in interesting ways. It was always best to let him silently set the tone for his day and not bother him with needless instruction. Another lady wanted to talk the whole time we were together, sharing the same story of her life each week. I didn’t mind hearing the same story over and over, month after month. She obviously needed to share it and she would paint and talk. I think the talking was almost as important a therapy for her as the painting was. I was often told that mine was the cheapest therapy in town, because for the price of paint and paper, people would go way feeling much better just for the experience of petting the paper with paint. I believe that’s true to a certain extent. That’s not to dissuade people from seeing actual therapists or to devalue their vital work. Painting was just a mood enhancer and lifter. I guess to sum up, I provided the venue and the therapy was the experience of painting. It doesn’t matter with those with dementia if they go away with a masterpiece. They simply enjoyed the process of painting. Those without dementia kind of wanted something to show for their hour of painting. They wanted a finished piece of art. Those with dementia didn’t necessarily want that but I praised them just the same as if it were a masterpiece they created. I hope that helps a little.
Dana-DD on January 23, 2019:
Great article - Thank you Denise. I'm volunteering right at the Day Program for Older Adults, but pursuing my ideas of working with seniors as an Art Outreach Facilitator. I wonder what major difference--in your opinion and with your experience - is between practicing art with active and independent seniors vs seniors with dementia? I appreciate your input. Thank you.
Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on December 20, 2018:
I'm so happy to have been of help. I agree about the oil paints. You will have a few ask why you aren't offering oil painting but you will find they are amateur artists who have some experience in oils and not the average senior who has never held a paintbrush before. Please feel free to ask me any other questions. I love being here for those who are willing to share their time and talent with the elderly.
Britt on December 20, 2018:
Thank you so much! I was offered a job teaching in a retirement community today and I have a lot of questions. This answered some questions I didn't even know I had! I now see that I have to look at this in a completely different way from teaching emerging to professional artists who are looking to increase skill levels in private lessons and workshops. Also, I think I better leave the oil paints at home : ).
Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 29, 2018:
I'm so glad you are continuing the work with the elderly. Not everyone has the temperament, time and patience. It can be challenging but SOOOO rewarding. I too would like to see more recognition of the benefits of arts on all walks of life. I don't know why the average person doesn't really see that but them pays a decorator to decorate their home, or pays an architect or contractor to recreate their kitchen and whatever. Everyone needs and desires art. They just don't always see it. Thanks for commenting.
Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on July 05, 2018:
I'd be happy to give you any tips I may have. I'm so happy you are pursuing helping the elderly. I know you community will benefit greatly from your help. I'll be looking for you on FB. Thank you for commenting.
Kate on July 05, 2018:
Hi! I'm so glad I found your website and some details on your work with seniors. I'm based in Canada, Ontario and I'm developing an art program for seniors which I would like to offer in a couple of months. I can see that I can learn from your experience. Would you have some time to chat and give me some more tips on this how to build my plan?
I'm planning some meetings with art coordinator for retirement houses in my city and I'm still not sure how to present myself in order to sign a contract. Maybe we could chat on Messanger from Facebook? I will looke you up and my name on Facebook is Lana Trifei. Thank you for any help you can offer. Best regards
Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 29, 2018:
Thank you so much, Marianne.
Marianne Tardaguila on May 29, 2018:
Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 25, 2018:
I'm sorry I don't know anyone in that area of TX but you may be able to find an interested artist by contacting your local arts council. If not here, try looking up any artists groups/painting groups in your area. They often post events in the newspaper with contact numbers or online on Facebook or Twitter. Ask them to spread the word. Surely someone knows someone who would be interested. Don't give up. Thanks for commenting.
Robin on May 25, 2018:
This is Wonderful I am the activities director for a nursing home in Van TX and I would love to add something like this to our activities we have several very artistic residents. Do you know of anyone in the TX area I can get ahold of? My number is 903-963-8641
Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 12, 2018:
That sounds wonderful. I'm very excited to learn more artists are using their gifts to help others and spread beauty in the world. I have so many suggestions that it would be too much to put it here. I'm writing another HubPages article using questions people have asked as a jumping off point. Keep watching here and you will see it soon. For right now I would say you are on the right track. You are a step ahead of most people who want to start something like you described. My rule of thumb was to keep things simple for the elderly. They like a little detail but not much. I create paintings for them that had large areas of wash color with just a few spots of detail. An example would be a snowscape with one little cabin in the distance. It had charm and interest but wasn't too complicated for elderly or children or even the disabled group that occasionally joined us. Thanks for commenting.
Jan ibbotson on May 12, 2018:
I’m so glad I have found you!!. I am a self taught artist, and live in a small rural village. Which is growing. I started an art social group last Oct, which is go8ng really well. , and bow have 15 regulars. I have also started doing art workshops for an elderly group in our village once a month. They love it , as so do I and now I am studying art therapy , especially to help the elderly.
Do yo7 have any hints for me?, I would also like to now introduce taster days, a title I have thought of is CREATIVE ART WITHOUT BOUNDARIES.? I would really appreciate any comments . THANKYOU jan
Betsy Lyle on March 29, 2018:
Hi Denise. I enjoyed reading the experiences with teaching the seniors you have shared. I would like for you to share more if you would. Example, I did attend Jr. College in the late 70's, all of my work has ben lost or given away over all this time. I desire to work with the seniors at their facilities once a week at several location. My plans are to start off smaller scale, A7 size envelope to match folded cards. Use grahite paper to transfer image to water color paper. Consentrate on color mix first. Then branch out to larger sheets of paper. thinking about acrylics rather than watercolor due to the fact acrylic drys faster. What do feel I should say to the director to close the sale and without having any samples to show directed to seniors. Gratefully, Betsy
Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on February 08, 2018:
Thanks Margaret. That's very encouraging.
Margaret Towle on February 08, 2018:
Denise, don't worry about editing. The information and ideas you can share override any editing. Best of luck and wishes,
Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 23, 2018:
I'll be looking to see what you come up with. I'd be interested in hearing how it's coming or answer any questions you may have. Thanks for commenting.
Nancy Mason on January 22, 2018:
Your article is very touching. Ncminspirations.com
I'll be looking to do something similar very soon..!
Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 20, 2018:
That's a great idea. I don't really know much about editing video but I have thought I have lots to say and need to get a YouTube tutorial channel going. Wish me luck. Thanks for the suggestion.
Margaret Towle on January 19, 2018:
Have you ever thought of putting tutorials on you tube?? I work with the elderly, I have no art experience BUT I do see the benefits for my residents. It is very difficult finding appropriate material for dementia and alz. residents.
Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on October 15, 2017:
Thank you Holly, but I do have my Master's Degree now and don't just throw words around heedlessly. Still I do think that even before I received my Master's, I was doing therapeutic art. I appreciate your comment.
Holly on October 03, 2017:
I think it is wonderful that you share your love of art with the senior community, they definitely need it. However as a registered Art Therapist, I want you to be aware that unless you have received your Master degree in art therapy form a accredited University you should not ethical be referring to the work you do as art therapy. Please take some time to learn more about art therapy by visiting the American Art Therapy Association web site.
Glenis on April 11, 2017:
Mmm. Not sure if you would categorise me as a senior - I will be 70 this year and am itching to learn about perspective. I'm a member of an art club where most of the group are my age or older and, on the whole, are very experimental artists working in a variety of different media. I'm guessing your group was more elderly. Did you know that art has been demonstrated to be beneficial to people cursed with Altzeimers
Kathy on April 01, 2017:
Thank you for sharing your experience.
Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on November 25, 2016:
That is so nice of you to say. I think I kind of stumbled into it myself. I was looking for something to do with my time when my kids all left home for college and found the seniors were looking for something to do. Keep doing your art. You never know when it will change someone's life. Thanks for commenting.
Nicole K on November 25, 2016:
Love this hub! Your paintings are beautiful. You are definitely very talented! I was interested in art therapy when I was in college, and got my bachelor's degree in Psychology. I was hoping to get into an art therapy program at Loyola Marymount, but I didn't end up pursuing it. Now I'm married with two kids, but I love to do art and paint with my 3-year-old son. Maybe someday I'll pursue art therapy when my kids are older. What you did with the seniors was really neat :)
Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 19, 2016:
I'm so very glad if that's true. The seniors deserve all the extras we can possibly give them. Feel free to use my ideas and if you desire, feel free to contact me for more. Thanks for commenting.
Jenae on September 19, 2016:
I regularly volunteer at a local nursing home for art time. How they love to paint! Your thoughts and experiences are true to mine, and you have given me new ideas and inspiration. Thank you!
Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 31, 2016:
I absolutely agree. I think people live longer when they have something to occupy their minds and give then interest in life. As my dear friend put it, it keeps their minds from turning to mush. Maybe I'll see you around sometime. Thanks for commenting.
norlawrence on August 29, 2016:
Great article. Seniors need things to do to keep them busy. They do not need to just sit and do nothing. You live about 90 miles from where I do. I think you are doing great things. Keep it up. Thanks
Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 10, 2016:
Art is amazing like that. I'm so sorry to hear you have suffered tragedies, but glad that art is helping you survive. Good for you! Thanks as always for visiting my humble writings.
Korneliya Yonkova from Cork, Ireland on June 10, 2016:
Thank you for this amazing hub, Denise! :) I absolutely agree that art therapy helps people to recover from illness and mental health problems. I myself suffer fatigue and art really help me to improve, to forget about all tragedies in my whole life and to survive! :)
Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 23, 2016:
It's so true. And they are the sweetest people filled with awesome experiences and a lifetime of stories. Who couldn't learn a ton if they just sat quietly and listened? Some of the stories I heard would make your toes curl. Things were different in the 30's and 40's, we have no idea. It is so sad that they canceled my program for lack of funds. Thanks so much for commenting.
Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on May 23, 2016:
This is a wonderful commentary on the value of senior citizens centers in helping seniors continue with meaningful activity during their waning years. The difficulty that they face as they loose their loved ones companionship can be swallowed up in the relationships they form with those at the center. Thank you for providing this valuable service!
Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 22, 2016:
Oh thank you. Yes, I believe I'll be there too someday not too distant and I sure want people to treat me with patience and tolerance. I'm already beginning to walk a little slower than I used to... Thanks for commenting.
Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 22, 2016:
Well of course. Thank you for all your encouragement. Sometimes all a girl needs is a pat of the back and a high five to feel like any challenge is worthwhile.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 22, 2016:
I have worked with the elderly, and I think you highlighted some important features of the experience. Pleased that you realize that mental disorder, even the beginning stages of Alzheimer's may be the reason that some steal. Thanks for sharing your very beautiful work!
Sukhneet Kaur Bhatti from India on May 22, 2016:
Again a heart touching article. I just love your concern towards the older people and the way you believe in dealing with them. And, this time art therapy becomes a medium. Hats off :)
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 22, 2016:
I love your reflections and honesty, from my observations over the years, every one of your reflections is true.
Bless you for taking on the challenge, and thanks for sharing it with us.
Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 22, 2016:
I agree with you. I got a lot out of the session too. Thanks so much for commenting.
Sanjay Sharma from Mandi (HP) India on May 22, 2016:
Art therapy is one of the best option for the alleviation of stress and is not limited to Senior Citizens only. Thanks for the wonderful article.