Retirement Community Uses Art to Enhance Life and Legacy in Long-Term Care

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

Park Springs, an award-winning resort-style continuing care retirement community in suburban Atlanta, recently unveiled a mural commissioned by Isakson Living that honors the care partners and nurses who serve a valuable role in its continuum of care. The “Sentinels of Legacy” mural, created by South Carolina artist Tarleton Blackwell, is reflective of the community’s innovative relationship-based model in health care. The mural hangs in Pebblebrook, the onsite health center of Park Springs, where traditional senior care institutions such as strict schedules, uniforms and a healthcare aesthetic are eschewed.
“At Park Springs we are concerned about not only health, but the quality of life for our resident members and staff. We introduced to Georgia the household model of care, which sets up long-term care as you would a household.” said Andy Isakson, managing partner of Park Springs. “This model focuses on relationships, and many strong bonds are formed between members, their families and care partners. I was moved to commission this mural to celebrate those relationships, the value of the care partner and their effect on people’s lives.”
The household model redefines living in long term care, which requires significant training for staff members. U.K.-based Dementia Care Matters (DCM) worked with Park Springs in its first project in the U.S. The organization’s innovative, evidenced-based program for dementia, the Butterfly Model, is centered on the belief that feelings matter most. Following a year of intensive training in this person-centered approach to memory care, Park Springs is now implementing the All Care Matters program from DCM, applying similar principals of relationship-based, person-centered care to its skilled-care and newly renovated assisted-living households.
Featuring the vital connection between members and nurses, the larger-than-life 5-foot-by-26-foot oil on canvas mural also ties into the important role art plays throughout the community in enhancing the physical environment, creating a sense of community, and showing respect for the members who call Park Springs home. The mural is showcased among the works of other renowned artists including Matt Janke, Shine Huang, Andrew Carson, Charles Keiger and Remi Yang.
“The power of the art is appropriate for the power of the stories,” said Isakson. “I believe the purpose of art is to make you think.”
The purpose of a mural is to tell stories through art. The artist used this medium to interpret the relationships that are formed in long-term care between members, families and their care partners and nurses. The mural is a series of true stories connected by the theme of relationships and respect of legacy. Both the scale and the true to life detail of the mural, which took nearly two years for Blackwell to paint, are powerful.
“Public art has also been shown to build community and this mural does so in no small part. By featuring members of Park Springs and the strength of the relationships with their care providers, Blackwell’s mural has sparked many conversations and reflection for many of the members, their families, nurses and care partners,” explains Isakson. “’Sentinels of Legacy’ asks us to respect the legacy of others and to look at the legacy and purpose in our own lives.”