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Monthly Archives: May 2014

Art Therapist Becky Prusko

Art Therapist Becky Prusko

As an Art Therapist working at Milwaukee Catholic Home, I see the benefits of working with the fine arts on a weekly basis. As with all of the Therapeutic Recreation programs offered, when an individual decides to participate in a program, they are a part of a community. It’s a community of people who have had some of the same experiences that come with getting older – loss, more time on their hands, possible illnesses or ailments, isolation, as well as wisdom and wonderful life stories they can share.

Art is beneficial for both the creator and the viewer. According to her article, Aging: What’s Art Got To Do With It?, Barbara Bagan, PhD, ATR-BC states: “Neurological research shows that making art can improve cognitive functions by producing both new neural pathways and thicker, stronger dendrites. Thus, art enhances cognitive reserve, helping the brain actively compensate for pathology by using more efficient brain networks or alternative brain strategies. Making art or even viewing art causes the brain to continue to reshape, adapt, and restructure, thus expanding the potential to increase brain reserve capacity.”

There are many opportunities to participate in the fine arts at Milwaukee Catholic Home including, but not limited to: enjoying musical performers at Patio Pops or other special events, participating in Music Therapy and Art Therapy, singing in the MCH choir, ballroom dance, learning about arts organizations like the Milwaukee Ballet as part of the Life Long Learning initiative, Shakespeare discussions, storytelling, pottery, painting and other creative arts, art shows, visits to museums and art appreciation sessions.

These programs often provide residents with meaning and purpose. They provide opportunities for socialization, learning, increasing confidence, reducing depression – the list goes on!  I think the MCH logo sums up the benefits of the fine arts nicely: Experience. Community. Spirit.

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This year, we’re introducing a new pottery program, giving our residents the opportunity to participate in the fine arts without leaving home.  Milwaukee Catholic Home has begun a 6 month membership with Murray Hill Pottery Works.  They provide the clay and fire the finished pieces, but it’s up to our residents to do the creating!  Geralynn from Murray Hill Pottery Works recently introduced the first project, creating clay roses.  Residents in the memory care suites in our Health and Rehabilitation Center were the first to give it a try, and the project has now been introduced all over campus.

Becky Prusko, our art therapist in the Health and Rehabilitation Center, says pottery work has a significant therapeutic impact.  “Working with clay has many benefits, including relaxation, alleviating perceptions of pain, building and maintaining hand strength, raising self-esteem, confidence, and creativity- all while having a nice time socializing with others around us!”  she said.

As the resident artists develop their skills and creative skills, the project possibilities are endless.  Keep your eyes open for possible items for sale at the Fall Bazaar!

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Members of our weekly Shakespeare study group recently had the opportunity for a special celebration: Shakespeare’s 450th birthday.  This resident group, facilitated by Nick Weber, has been meeting for over 5 years to learn about and experience Shakespeare’s masterpieces.  Every meeting of the group includes discussion and the opportunity to read scenes out loud together from Shakespeare’s plays.

This time, in honor of the big day, residents enjoyed a birthday cake and read from one of Shakespeare’s most well-known works: A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  One resident got into the spirit by donning a donkey’s head mask to play the character of Bottom!

The group has another reason to celebrate as well: Nick Weber will soon be publishing a book about his time studying Shakespeare alongside older adults.  The book will be titled “Shakespeare with Hearing Aids:  Some Old-Timers Revisit the Bard,” and will be released this summer.  Several MCH residents will be making an appearance, both in photos and in the stories Nick tells.  MCH will be holding a wine and cheese reception and book signing in Nick’s honor on Thursday, August 21st at 5:00 pm in the Astor Room.  More info on the book and Nick’s other work can be found at weberwords.com.


This month, we’re celebrating the 75th anniversary of the universally-beloved classic movie, The Wizard of Oz.  We have special happenings going on all month long in our Health and Rehabilitation Center, culminating in an “Emerald City Soiree” in our Town Center.  See details below, and visit our Community Calendar for information about other events.


Put on your Ruby Slippers!

Please join us for an Emerald City Soiree in honor of the 75th Anniversary of The Wizard of Oz!


Friday, May 30th, 2:00 pm

Milwaukee Catholic Home

Health and Rehabilitation Center

2330 N. Prospect Avenue

Milwaukee, WI 53211

We’ll be playing the movie, of course, and enjoying Wizard of Oz themed food and drink.  We may even have a few special visitors!

To RSVP, please contact Ana Greer at (414) 220-4610 x. 3221 or agreer@milwaukeecatholichome.org

Please join us for a special afternoon of reflection with Sr. Virginia Stone, BVM, M.A. on Friday, May 23, at 2:00 PM in the Astor Room.  Sr. Virginia is a spirituality consultant for the Office of Lifelong Learning at the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.  Sr. Virginia’s topic will be “Gifts of the Spirit.”  She’ll use Scripture images to help us reflect on how to be open to the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives as we strive to build God’s community of love.

This event is open to all friends and family of MCH residents who are looking for an opportunity spiritual growth and enrichment.  Please contact Anne Spoerl at 414-220-8468 Ext. 3389 with questions or to RSVP.




This year, we’re celebrating Older Americans Month with a daily post on our facebook page.  These posts will feature older adults living their lives to the fullest through wellness, creativity and service to their communities.

If you haven’t done so yet, please click here to “friend” us on facebook!