One Senior’s Advice: Get Out of Your Chair – Whatever Your Spark, Go Get It!

Does your home care plan incorporate your purpose and passion?

She didn’t realize she had some talent left in her.  Imagine that. To look at her work, you can see nothing but the talent that lies there – soft strokes, vibrant colors that have their watery essence yet detailed and strong. In her late 80s, Pat Steffer remains an artist whether she realizes it or not. Her son knows it. At Christmas while she was visiting him in Denver he asked her to paint his Christmas tree. Pat said, “I did it and you know what he said? ‘Mom, you’ve still got it.’”

She hadn’t thought much about it really. Standing at an easel is her preference when painting, it sets the stage for her work. With her back pain though, standing for long periods of time isn’t easy anymore. And so the paintbrushes were put aside. The paintings are there though to remind her of her passion – they’re everywhere actually – hanging on her apartment walls beckoning people to ask about them. That’s exactly what Kristin Cramer, RN, Pat’s Lifesprk Life Care Manager (LCM) did. And the story was told of Pat, as an artist years ago, a woman with painter’s blood whose grandfather was also an accomplished portrait painter. A woman who considered herself a ‘dabbler’ interested in water colors, acrylic, wood block prints, even sculpting.  A dry oil self-portrait of her grandfather proudly hangs in her dining room. “That gets a lot of conversation going,” laughed Pat. “Art has been my life.”

Creativity which includes sparking people’s lives, is also a piece of the LCM role. “She’s absolutely gifted,” said Kristin. “I had to find a way for her to paint again.” Village Shores where Pat lives had a 6-week art course in their activities center. Kristin encouraged Pat to attend and added that Lifesprk would cover the cost. “She couldn’t refuse knowing it was a gift so I signed her up,” said Kristin.  Pat said she enjoyed that course, adding “It felt really good to paint again.” She confided later that another reason she didn’t paint was because she always came up with a reason not to do it. “I discovered something about myself during that course,” said Pat. “I’m a social painter. Perhaps that’s what was missing – I like people around me to get the busy, creative energies flowing.” With this course, Pat found out she didn’t need an easel; all she needed was a table and chair to paint and watch her art flow freely. She’s hoping to sign-up for another one. “I’m thankful Kristin encouraged me to take this class,” added Pat.

Pat’s advice to others: “Get out of your chair – if you’re thinking about doing it – do it. It’s easy to get lazy about it. Whatever your spark – go get it!” As Robert Bresson said, “make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.” Kristin, like so many Lifesprk LCMs, was able to do that for Pat. Her visible reminder is a thank you from Pat – a beautiful watercolor of a spring bouquet that shouts ‘let your passion bloom, otherwise, no one will ever be able to see its gift.’

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