Holiday Cheer at Arden Courts Fair Oaks

By Caryn Gardner, Section Editor

Art is a great form to express your feelings and emotions. It can cheer you up, make you develop opinions about the world, and it can even convey several messages. In the current state of the world, it is important for those to be able to express themselves in channels other than verbal expressions. This is especially important for the elderly. Since elders are at a higher risk for obtaining the virus, it is important for them to engage in activities that strengthen the mind in the safest way possible. 


 Arden Oaks is an assisted living facility for individuals who suffer from memory loss. They specialize in patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s and certain dementias. The types of Dementia treated include early-onset, frontotemporal, Lewy body, mild cognitive, Parkinson’s disease, vascular and mixed dementia. This facility specializes in making sure the residents have individual routines and capabilities. They also value community which is why they have shared living spaces like craft studios, beauty salons, and wellness centers. Each resident lives in a house on campus with a half bathroom and a roommate. The residents have ensured the best safety while also having the ability to roam freely. In hopes of aiding those with memory loss, this facility has a specialized memory care program. In this program, residents go on walking paths and visual cues. 


  Jemma McPherson, a student from James Madison University, partnered with the Flint Hill art club to create holiday paintings. Senior, Brennan Kraus, shared the art she created while with the Arden Courts residents. She made a painting inspired by Santa Klaus’s suit and another inspired by the Grinch. The event consisted of less than ten people going to Arden Courts of Fair Oaks in order to adhere to the COVID-19 rules set by the state of Virginia. This event was created simply to bring joy to the residents and spread holiday cheer. With the current state of the world, everyone could use a bit more joy in their lives. In this event, the art club, Ms. McPherson, and others brought smiles to the residents’ faces. Brennan Kraus, one of the students that attended stated, “we painted to bring happiness and spread holiday joy”. She believed her presence along with others made a difference in the resident’s mood and deposition. 


This event was a great way for Flint Hill to meet new people, learn more about other people and their stories, and to do something for someone outside of themselves.  Although more students are not allowed to attend the next event with Arden Courts, it would be a great opportunity for more students to become involved. It is also important that the residents are able to interact with others to ensure they maintain high spirits.