The Bristal Assisted Living Blog

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Handmade Valentine's Day Cards | The Bristal Spotlight

As a passionate quilter, team member Elana Goldberg has brought the joy of fabric postcard creation to residents at The Bristal at Englewood.

What started as an at-home hobby for Elana, a Lifestyle Coordinator and Art Therapist at The Bristal, turned into a treasured tradition for residents at The Bristal. Three years ago, she brought in her sewing machine and showed residents how to create patchwork postcards for their friends, families, and fellow residents. With the beautiful artwork on one side and a personal note on the other, the cards were cherished by everyone who received them.

This year, Elana wasn’t sure if she was going to have time to make them until one resident, Betty, reminded her how special the cards are to everyone. “They turn out like pieces of art,” says Betty. “I still have mine from three years ago!”

“Betty’s kind of taken this on and she's running with it. Now, we are giving one of those personal cards to everybody in the building - they're being made by residents and being sewn by residents,” said Elana.

Designing, sewing, and writing postcards for every single resident and team member in the building is no small undertaking  - they will be creating over 250 postcards. This number hasn’t discouraged them though. Betty says she is obsessed with making cards, “You sit here and it's like you can't stop, you miss have to finish!”

Another resident who is helping create postcards is Sharon. Sharon can only use one side of her body due to a stroke, so she has a difficult time using a traditional sewing machine. Knowing that, Elana sourced a machine that Sharon can comfortably use at her own pace, and she has been pumping out cards every day since. “She sits there dedicated and sews,” says Betty. “She's inspiring.”

As an art therapist, Elana knows the importance of allowing older adults time to be creative and have fun with art. “You give yourself a gift by allowing yourself to sit and play,” says Elana. She says it’s important to listen to residents’ interests when creating new programs, but it’s also important to push them out of their comfort zone. Elana said, “Having an adult who hasn't been playing with art in decades rediscover their creative self, that's what makes me feel good.”

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