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Friday, August 20, 2010

Clay as Physical Therapy

Last month when I was visiting my grandma in Oregon, we spent much of our time going over exercises prescribed by her physical therapist.  Amongst the sparse collection of accessible belongings on the counter was a blob of what looked like silly putty.  She was supposed to press her fingers into it, one at a time, in order to strengthen her hands and fingers.  "If only I had my clay here!", I thought... and I came home with an idea.

Wednesday morning was very special.  I took some FIMO soft over to the house of an elderly friend in the first stages of dementia.  On her fridge in large letters was a reminder for her: "Do your hand exercises!"  I showed her, one step at a time, how to make sunflowers and roses.  It's wonderful because she doesn't need to be able to hear or remember more than one step at a time.  I made one right along side her.  Mixing and kneading the clay with both hands, she didn't even know she was doing "exercise".

I don't know anything about physical therapy, and I used to be very uncomfortable with elderly people.  If I can do this, anyone can.  Giving others a means to engage with, and create beauty is such a wonderful gift!   I keep discovering for myself why this blog is called Creator's Joy.

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