Facebook group connects Ottawa kids and seniors through art
Long-term care facilities across Canada have had no-visitor policies in place since March due to COVID-19, and many are concerned about the consequences of prolonged isolation. An Ottawa Facebook group is working to bridge the gap between long-term care residents and their communities using art by local children. The group, Kid Art with Heart, was started by Michelle Fleming in late March to give seniors at Bruyère long-term care facilities across the city a much-needed boost. Fleming, who works at one of Bruyère’s campuses and has been in the field since 2005, says her “heart is breaking at what is happening right now [in long-term care homes] and the colossal impacts it has had and will continue to have.” The group is also intended to help parents who are looking for meaningful activities to do with their children while staying home.
Each week, Fleming posts a different challenge topic in the group for participants to build art pieces around. She then picks up the art pieces from each family’s porch and delivers them to one of Bruyère’s Ottawa long-term care facilities. Recent challenge topics have included “Every Colour of the Rainbow”, “Gratitude”, and “Hands & Hope”. The art pieces are then used to decorate the facilities to show both the residents and staff that they are loved and appreciated by their community.
The Ottawa group has close to 100 members, and Fleming says she is keen to see the idea take off: “ I’d love to see this idea spread and have more people in more areas doing it for their local care homes.”