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Elders paste together the past
Scrapbooking activity in Fort Simpson brings together art and memories

Jeanne Gagnon
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, September 19, 2013

A group of Fort Simpson elders were cutting and gluing photos on coloured paper, placing stickers and writing information with markers as they participated in scrapbooking activities last week.

NNSL photo/graphic

Flora Hardisty, left, participates in scrapbooking activities the Fort Simpson's long-term care facility hosted on Sept. 11. Erin Wyatt, the recreation co-ordinator and rehabilitation therapy assistant is helping Hardisty and other elders cut and glue photos. - Jeanne Gagnon/NNSL photo

The work was slow and steady, but with the help of Erin Wyatt, recreation co-ordinator and rehabilitation therapy assistant at the long-term care facility, a few pages of memories were added to the albums of scrapbook photos. The elders like the activity, said Wyatt.

"A lot of them can paint really well and a lot of them beaded and did really intricate work in their younger years. (Now that they're) older, it has been harder if their vision isn't as good, their hands aren't working as well," she said. "So scrapbooking is nice because it's looking at photos, so it's memories. It's also helping the brain. If someone is having memory loss, they can look at old photos."

During the workshops, Wyatt sits down with the elders and goes through the photos before they start cutting, gluing, writing and decorating.

Flora Hardisty said she enjoys scrapbooking and cutting photos.

"And I like gluing on a piece of paper," she added.

Wyatt displays photos she has taken of different events throughout the month, such as an elder's birthday, on the photo wall for people to look at. Once a month, she takes them down and scrapbooks them into albums to make room for the new photos.

"We can't have too many photos up at the same time because it gets confusing to have too many pictures all over. So we scrapbook them," she said.

Leafing through the albums, there are pictures of elders' birthdays, cakes, newspaper clippings and other activities from the past five years.

"I do the scrapbooking for memories so we have it for years and years to come and people can look at them," said Wyatt.

"When visitors come in, they can look at the photos and sit. And if a new resident comes in, they can look through and feel more at home, if they see there is actually stuff that happens."

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