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Research student uses art therapy to help boost wellbeing of care home residents

FineArt

A Wrexham university student is helping boost elderly care home residents’ wellbeing with art therapy.

Megan Wyatt, a Fine Art PhD research student, has joined forces with Stansty Care Home to help the residents get creative.

Megan, whose PhD focuses on the impact painting can have on people with dementia, helped the residents design a mural for the care home and recently design collages and paintings to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday.

Megan said: “When I first visited the care home late last year they wanted a mural for the residents. But I thought it would be better to go in and meet the residents and get those living at the care home, especially those with dementia, to get involved rather than just me creating the mural.

“Three students from Wrexham Glyndwr University’s art school also helped me supervise the residents creating the mural.

“Overall getting the residents to design it themselves went really well, we went into the care home once a week for two hours and the residents started looking forward to us coming in. We got great feedback from the residents and staff.”

Art therapy has proven to be a powerful tool for treating Alzheimer’s disease as it stimulates the brain. Studies suggest it stirs memories and can bring language back into the life of someone who struggles to speak.

Once the mural was finished in March Stansty staff got back in touch with Megan to help them celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday last month.

Megan and two Fine Art students from Wrexham Glyndwr University, Jacqui Kiff and Jodie Haggart, visited the care home ahead of their street party to help create royal themed artwork.

Megan said: “The art workshop went really well and the residents seemed to really enjoy it.”

She added: “I’ve always been interested in dementia research and artwork and this was a good way of linking them together.”

Megan has already started her next project at Wrexham Maelor Hospital with undergraduate students, facilitating art workshops for patients on the Evington Ward.

Sue Liggett, Reader in Fine Art at Wrexham Glyndwr University and Megan’s PhD supervisor, said: “Megan is an exceptional student, her work in the community shows how much she cares about helping and encouraging others to be creative.

“The study of Fine Art encourages students to take a range of approaches to their work. Megan's paintings and PhD work has informed her research project involving the local care home, and undergraduate students have learnt vital skills through engaging in real life situations when volunteering on arts projects. 

“Megan has become an independent creative professional, she is a credit to Wrexham Glyndwr University’s School of Creative Arts.”

Visit Wrexham Glyndwr University's Fine Art course for more details.  

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