Art Therapy.

Elder Care Alliance Art Therapist to Present at International Conference

An art therapist with Elder Care Alliance will present her research on seniors and technology at an upcoming international conference.

The event, the Thirteenth International Conference on Technology, Knowledge & Society, will take place May 26 at Canada’s University of Toronto. Dr. Erin Partridge was selected to present her findings, which focused on how nonverbal and minimally verbal seniors can communicate with art and technology.

Using Sprout by HP, a specially equipped computer, senior research participants communicated with others through the use of art and drawing.

Starting a New Conversation

Erin, an Elder Care Alliance registered art therapist, concluded her doctoral research recently. As part of her project, she worked with residents of Elder Care Alliance communities to demonstrate that seniors can play a significant role in the development of new technologies and research related to them.

In Erin’s project, senior participants acted as co-researchers as they shared their knowledge through technology-based art. Erin hopes that by amplifying the voices of seniors with communication difficulties, all seniors may be empowered to share their knowledge and experiences in alternative ways.

A Greater Sense of Community

The research participants readily engaged with the technology-based art as a way to express themselves, Erin noted, and she hopes that new technologies eventually will improve quality of life for seniors as they gain more of a voice in a variety of living situations.

As part of Erin’s research, participants expressed themselves by moving human, on-screen depictions to interact with each other. Participants could move their fingers on a touch mat to make additional marks, change colors and make other adjustments to the images.

Through the use of art, the senior participants found that they could communicate in new ways and more easily express their thoughts and emotions. Erin noted that the tech-based art can create closer connections between people of different age groups as seniors more readily share their experiences.

AlmaVia of San Rafael congratulates Erin as she prepares to present her important research in Canada this month. We are proud to be part of the thought leadership she brings to the field of aging.