Putting old people into the picture

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 December, 2011, 12:00am


One can never be too old to draw. Art in Hospital (AIH) is a non-profit organisation that uses art as a healing tool. Operation Santa Claus (OSC) will help AIH run 'Art Cherish - Holistic Art Workshops for Elderly Patients'. A total of 384 patients from Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital and Grantham Hospital will benefit from the scheme.

Jointly organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK, OSC has supported more than 100 different charities over the years, sharing hope, and funding life-enhancing transformations.

Professional artists will volunteer to instruct the elderly with their artwork. One artist, Chan Sai-lok, says it is not easy to get the elderly involved in drawing, as they lack confidence.

'They told me they can't even write so they can't draw. But I encourage them, saying if you can draw a cross and circle then you can draw. I choose topics [they can relate to], like food, and present the real [object] to act as a reference as I guide them to draw,' he says.

AIH programme officer Susanna Lee believes that art has healing effects on elderly patients. 'Many of the patients suffer from mental illness or dementia,' she says. 'They cannot concentrate and live an unhappy life. Drawing helps them settle down to work on something and gives them a sense of satisfaction when they show families their artwork. It is a positive thing for the family; we try to get children to draw with their parents and it is precious moment for them to bond. A lot of families are surprised by the ability of their father or mother to draw.'

The artwork produced from the project will be exhibited at Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital next year.

How you can give

Donations can be made online, at HSBC branches and ATMs.

Visit osc.scmp.com for details, or contact us at osc@scmp.com or 2680 8159.