Wendy Davis began her the Art for Parkinson’s classes three years ago in the Sutherland Shire. Together with Kerry Blake, an Art Therapist, Wendy encourages anyone with Parkinson’s to join in and have a wonderful time expressing themselves through their artwork.
Designed to provide a “can do” activity for people whose abilities have been compromised by Parkinson’s, a typical class begins with a “cuppa” and a chat. You then begin with time to calm the nervous system through guided breathing exercises to focus the mind, followed by seated stretching to kick-start the body into action.
Wendy says, “We find that once our participants have picked up their paintbrush, or whatever instrument they are using, they really focus on creating the art and so their concentration means that often their Parkinson’s symptoms are lessened”. Research shows that in addition to medications, there are some activities that ease motor symptoms and improve the quality of life of those diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
Recent studies by Dr Julie H. Carter, Professor of Neurology at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and Associate Director at the OHSU Parkinson Centre of Oregon, have shown an individual can have some control over the symptoms of Parkinson’s by teaching the brain to change and adapt to new circumstances, an ability called neuroplasticity.
Scientific evidence now suggests that certain activities – exercise, social connectedness and creativity – may not only be therapeutic for Parkinson’s symptoms, but may actually change the brain and allow it to form new pathways of communication among brain cells.
Wendy loves to see that there is an overwhelming use of bright colours and she says that art brings such joy and happiness to all who participate. There are no hard and fast rules; it is not an art lesson as such, merely a chance to be expressive, abstract and creative.
The classes are kindly funded by the Revesby Workers Club.
If you would like to join in the details are:
Where: Sefton Community Centre, Batt Street
When: Every second Monday
10.00am – 12 noon
Cost: $5 each class.
All supplies and morning tea included.
Contact: Wendy Davis 0415 361 991