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Through the Eyes of a Seasoned Artist

At each of our Maplewood Senior Living communities, our lifestyle teams are dedicated to cultivating a lifestyle based on a heart-led philosophy of vibrant, intentional living founded on nine essential lifestyle building blocks. These building blocks are: Enlivened Engagement, Intentional Living, Movement for Wellness, Enriching Arts, Sense of Community, Family Connection, Brain Health, Energizing Environments, and Shared Laughter.

Over the course of the year,  we will be publishing a series of blogs that  delve into the lives  of residents and uncover how passion continues to bring joy and purpose to each of their lives.  We didn’t have to look too far to find residents that have found a calling with art. Enriching art workshops are held as part of the weekly programming calendar and while some may only dabble with art during the workshops, others have made it part of their daily lives.

We visited Judith Kohn, a resident at Maplewood at Weston in Massachusetts, who has turned her apartment into an art studio of her own.  Her passion is evident as you look around at the various masterpieces on display  – hanging on the walls, sitting on a side table, or on the floors. For Judy, art rescued her during a difficult period of her life. In 1993 her twin sister passed away. “I was depressed for about two years, “Judy told us, “I knew I had to do something and enrolled in a silk dying workshop.” After that she went to the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts and continued to take more classes. “Art opened up new possibilities for me. And I started to feel my depression lifting.”

According to Bernardo Gubert, Executive Director at Weston, “Judy moved to our Weston community in July of 2022 and is now our most active ambassador. She teaches a monthly art classes for other residents  and has helped to discover some amazing talent among our community. We are so lucky to have her.”

Judy with some of her work.

In New Jersey at our newest community, Maplewood at Princeton, we sat down with Rosalyn Mass who moved in with her husband Edward in June 2022. The couple had different needs but found the community offered the perfect solution for both. Rosalyn was looking for the help caring for Edward who had been diagnosed with dementia but wished to be able to continue to live an active and independent lifestyle.  They each have separate apartments but continue to enjoy time together. Every day they have lunch together in our Currents dining room sitting at the counter of the display kitchen watching the chefs prepare their meals.  For dinner Rosalyn joins her friends on the first floor.

Now in her nineties, Rosalyn shared with us her lifelong passion for the arts and creating her own art. For seventeen years she taught painting and drawing from the basement of their home in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. “I never had any formal training. But as a child I started using pastels and now I can work with every medium from pencil to acrylic, watercolor, and pen and ink. But if I could work with one all the time, it would be oil.” Rosalyn taught children in her neighborhood four days a week and recalled what a “league of nations” it was with students from such varied backgrounds and cultures. She worked with the Fort Lee Library to have her students work exhibited.  

Her portfolio is extensive. She shared a compilation of her work that her son put together for her 80th Birthday. Her portraits of family, especially her children and grandchildren, are prevalent in the retrospective of her artistic life but also included are exemplary copies of the works of some of the masters.

Rosalyn in her apartment at Maplewood at Princeton with a painting of her three sons.

Many residents enjoy the painting workshops held in our communities, hosted by our lifestyle teams. Both assisted living and memory care residents benefit from taking part in artistic programming. Researchers suggest that strengthening our creative muscles can also help improve the health, well-being, and independence of older adults. Our Blog, Get Creative: Why Arts and Crafts are Good for You as You Age delves deeper into this subject highlighting more specific benefits.

Vivian, a resident at Maplewood at Strawberry Hill, loves the watercolor class.

Getting Creative at Maplewood Senior Living

Residents at Maplewood Senior Living have many opportunities to engage their creative side. From art to flower arranging, baking and holiday craft-making, those who live in our communities can reap the many health benefits. To learn more about our offerings or to schedule a tour, please contact us.

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