New Burnbrae Gardens colouring program is proving beneficial to residents with dementia

‘I’ve never seen the residents so engaged and focused’

A resident at Burnbrae Gardens who is living with cognitive impairment sometimes becomes agitated and upset. But when life enrichment staff hand the resident some pencil crayons and pages from a colouring book, she will immediately become calm and focused.

Burnbrae Gardens launched a colouring program in January. The program is held a couple of times a week and is designed to enhance quality of life for residents living with cognitive impairment.

Allison Juniper and other life enrichment aides at the Campbellford long-term care home have been printing pictures retrieved from the Internet for residents to colour – and it has proven to be an activity residents are gravitating towards.

Aside from being an activity they enjoy, colouring helps residents focus and is beneficial in maintaining fine-motor skills, Allison notes. The end result is a finished product residents can take pride in creating, she adds.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, residents have been working on colouring pictures with a Valentine’s Day theme.

“We’ve been posting the pictures on the wall, and some of the residents have even been dedicating their pictures to family members,” Allison says. “The residents also really enjoy sitting down and reminiscing when they’re colouring.

“It’s a very calming activity the residents can do.”

Because the colouring program requires residents to focus on completing a creation, Allison says those participating will work on their project for up to 90 minutes at a time.

“It’s an activity they like to start and finish,” she says.

Burnbrae Gardens administrator and life enrichment co-ordinator April Faux says because the program encourages residents to be focus and utilize their creativity, it’s an excellent tool to use in groups or as a one-to-one activity to prevent agitation.

“I’ve never seen the residents so engaged and focused,” she says.

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