Blank and barren walls soon will be replaced with colorful scenes of rural farm land, cafes and gardens in the Sunnyview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Butler.
Nearly 50 years after the Associated Artists of Butler County first collaborated with Sunnyview, it will do so again to improve the visual environment for residents with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.
"You would not believe the visual and textural stimulation Alzheimer's and dementia patients need," said Heidi Coyle, director of nursing at Sunnyview. "Any textural stimulation, any visual is a plus, so the opportunity to partner with AABC to decorate the space can only benefit our residents."
Coyle said the effort began two years ago when Paul Scanlon, Associated Artists' director, approached her with the idea to help decorate the center's new wing. After several meetings, he suggested starting in the wing's Memory Care Unit.
"It has no painting, no visual stimulation for the patients that need it," Scanlon said. "Sunnyview is a very beloved nursing home, and a lot of those in town that have relatives there love it.
"It just seemed like the best place to start."
Mary Kay Richardson and Lisa Sten kicked off the project last week by starting a 16-by-7-foot wall mural inside the unit's dining and activity area. The group plans to sponsor a competition in October to attract submissions from artists across the region, and it is asking local businesses, sponsors and individuals to donate the art that will become permanent fixtures in the dementia unit.
"We're hoping to make the area more inviting, and the patients want to make their way over to the pictures and the dining room," Coyle said of the mural. …