Ron, who was a WWII veteran, lived at Olive Branch Assisted Living in Perry. He began taking SAC’s SMARTS (Shiawassee Mobile ART for Seniors) classes as soon as they began in early October 2018 and he never missed a class – until one day he wasn’t there. The instructor always enjoyed having him in the classes and asked the facility’s administrator if he was ill. Sadly, he had passed away unexpectedly soon after our last class.
She went on to say that when Ron’s family was cleaning out his room they found all the artwork he had created. They had no idea he was such a good artist. One of his pieces, an acrylic barn wood painting with the American flag was so beautiful that they placed it on his casket during the funeral. Afterward, they placed it inside the casket to be buried with Ron.
This story touched all of us who have been a part of the Smarts II Program. It shows that SAC is making a positive impact on the lives of Shiawassee County and Clinton County residents living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. With grant support, SAC continues to serve six facilities – Durand Senior Care & Rehab, Memorial Healthcare, Olive Branch Senior Assisted Living, Ovid Healthcare, Oliver Woods and Pleasant View.
Instructors and their assistants travel by SAC’s van once a week to each of the facilities providing residents with art classes that are fun and teach new skills. Not only is it enjoyable for the participants, which SAC knows from our 98% positive evaluations, but research has shown that creating art generates better mental health which can lead to fewer doctor visits and more overall involvement with other residents and activities – and a richer quality of life.