“Teaching art to those in memory care is really about a way to connect with those living with dementia,” said Weinstock. “It’s more than just entertainment; it’s reaching people. Sometimes it’s challenging, but art is mentally stimulating for them and keeps them engaged. To me, showing them how to paint is showing them how to break through a wall.”
Weinstock often goes to his son-in-law, who is a doctor, for advice on how to present new concepts to the group in memory care and how to best use art as an enhancement for them. It requires a lot more one-on-one guidance than do his other art classes, but he has assistants with him to help keep each resident occupied and up to speed. Weinstock believes art is great for those in memory care because with degenerative diseases of the brain, the creative music and artistic abilities are the last to go. Sometimes they remember what was taught in the previous session; most do not. Regardless, Weinstock says that he is having fun with it and feels that sharing his gift of art in this way may be his calling.
“I think if I were to form a company, I’d call it ‘G & M’ – which stands for ‘God and Me,’” said Weinstock. “I supply the equipment, and God supplies the talent.”
In addition to helping the residents in memory care, Weinstock provides more in-depth and regular classes for his fellow active residents. He tells them that there are no mistakes because each piece of art is their own interpretation of what they see in their minds and how they put it onto paper. He encourages them to really examine things and be very meticulous with how they depict what they behold.
“Anybody can do what these folks in my art classes are doing,” said Weinstock. “Most have never painted before. The key is having desire and dedication to do it. It’s a matter of wanting to create or record something badly enough that you just have to do it.”
Before Weinstock’s first wife passed away, he did much more than just paint. Together he and his wife created slides for movies. Eventually, they donated a large portion of their film library to the Academy of Art in San Francisco. When his wife passed away in 2006, Weinstock had stopped his artwork for a few years until his daughter encouraged him to start painting again. He later remarried and got back into art classes. When he moved into Moldaw Residences with his new wife, he was asked to start leading an art class for the community and was given a studio on campus to do so. Now an entire gallery showcasing the artwork done by Weinstock.
“I told everyone that I’m not going to teach them how to paint; I’m just going to teach them how to really look at things,” said Weinstock. “As we age, we tend to miss things and skip over things that we may see every day. But it’s important to slow down so as not to take for granted what is there. Then you can capture what you see in your mind and put it onto paper.”
Weinstock has created countless pieces of art including a large mural that took almost a year to finish, but his favorite creation is a simple sketch he did of his mother and granddaughter to demonstrate how to use colored pencils.
“We love having such a talented artist here on our campus at Moldaw who can share his talent with fellow residents,” said Miki Raver, lifestyles director at Moldaw Residences. “Warren is such a joy, and residents, particularly those in memory care, love the art program he provides. It’s a fun and creative way to encourage mental stimulation for residents while also creating works of art to display proudly.”
ABOUT MOLDAW RESIDENCES
Moldaw Residences is an innovative senior living community located at the 8.5 acre Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life, adjacent to the 130,000 square foot Oshman Family Jewish Community Center. As a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), Moldaw Residences enables older adults to age in place by providing independent living, assisted living and memory support. Opened in 2009, Moldaw Residences offers 193 maintenance free, spacious apartment homes and extensive social and cultural amenities. Affiliated with the Jewish Senior Living Group, it is open to all faiths, ethnicities, and racial background.
For more information about Moldaw Residences of Palo Alto, visit www.moldaw.org or call (800) 873-9614.