Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Arts and Crafts as therapy

Valentine’s Day… so much anxiety.

I entertained at the Spark Matsunaga Center for the Aging on Valentine‘s Day. I noticed that there were no hearts and flowers as wall decorations celebrating Valentine’s Day. Regardless, I wore a red shirt, although my only red shirt had an ink stain on the pocket that I hoped wasn‘t noticeable. No such luck with military vets who are accustomed to inspecting every loose thread on one’s clothing. Regardless, even though the guys noticed it, they presumably appreciated my effort.

What is interesting is that Valentine’s Day is mostly to please women. When I had a relationship in my life, the days I dreaded the most were 1. Her birthday, 2. Christmas, and 3. Valentine’s Day.

It got to the point where if I didn’t spend enough on her on these special days, she went into a state of depression. I’ve terminated relationships based upon how women reacted to how much I spent during these special days.

These vets obviously felt the same way and may have been relieved to not have to dwell on Valentine’s Day.

What got the patients’ interest most was what the Arts and Crafts Lady brought for them. She represented a company called Help Hospitalized Veterans, which provided projects for the veterans  so they could create things with their hands by painting, putting together crafts and other projects. There are a number of organizations that help these vets. One, which is funded by private funds with no government help or intervention is

The above shows the art selections that are available for the residents

Some of them aren’t able to move their limbs so can’t create art projects. One guy, a Navy fighter pilot who had to land his plane on a moving ship, didn’t have use of any of his limbs. I believe he’s a recipient of  the Navy Cross but I can't confirm that because they don't like to brag about those things.

For those who have the use of their hands, making model cars is definitely a favorite activity

Another resident , was a navigator in the Air Force. Other residents nicknamed him “Wrongway” claiming that if the flight plan is set for Japan, he would navigate the plane to Alaska. Of course, it doesn’t help that “Wrongway” keeps bumping into things and people with his wheelchair.

Here is a painting that "Wrongway" created. He only has use of one hand

If you’re artistic or have time to volunteer, please consider doing so with them. Or, if you don’t have the time, but can contribute money, you can help in that way. The HHV organization is not sponsored by the government and exists because citizens who appreciate our veterans give of their time and resources.

1 comment:

Edmond said...

Aloha Don, Nice one braddah! I am inching myself there & love to see the artwork. My girl friend Ann Marie Deluca is closing in on her master's degree in Art Therapy & I've been learning a lot about the subject & how it helps to communicate from within. I love the painting that "Wrong Way" created. Keep up the awesome helping others while sharing your talents & Aloha Spirit. With Warm Regards, Moke Young