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Beacon Senior News

Valley Manor Care Center hosts exhibit "Heart to Heart: Art of Reflection"

Heart to Heart art exhibit

VOA exhibit helps seniors express feelings during the pandemic

Volunteers of America (VOA) and Valley Manor Care Center in Montrose focused on a unique community project to support mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supplying 3-inch wooden hearts to several community organizations, Valley Manor’s admissions and marketing director, Debra Hayre, asked members to decorate the hearts in a way that expressed their personal feelings during the pandemic.

Schools, churches, senior living facilities, police departments and hospitals were among the organizations to turn in their hearts, which were weatherproofed and attached to a fence on the north side of the care center at 1401 S. Cascade Ave.

“The heart shape represents our feelings and symbolizes love, which is something we all could use a bit more of right now,” said VOA Marketing Director Erin Berge. The idea behind the display, named “Heart to Heart: Art of Reflection,” stemmed from a Facebook post about a similar exhibit in Minnesota. Berge adapted the idea to fit Valley Manor and the Montrose community.

“I loved the outreach aspect and thought it could also help us promote National Resident’s Rights Month, which occurs annually in October,” she said.

Residents’ Rights Month honors residents living in all long-term care facilities and raises awareness of dignity, respect and rights of each resident.

“I’ve always loved making art and seeing how other people use art to express themselves,” said Berge. “It felt like a good way to bring awareness to our local residents, their rights, and to support their feelings and mental health.”

The project will remain on the fence until the end of the pandemic as a reminder of the many acceptable ways to feel when challenged with drastic change.

“It illustrates how we as a collective whole are experiencing and interacting during this particular time,” said Berge. “We hope many will have found it helpful and therapeutic.”

Passersby can observe the various messages and artistic interpretations outside of Valley Manor Care Center, located at 1401 S. Cascade Ave. in Montrose.

To learn more about Volunteers of America and its programs, visit www.voaseniorliving.org or call 1-844-862-4968.