mental health

Seniors at Miami-Dade Center Turn to Art to Cope With Pandemic

Seniors at Cano Health's Wellness Center are back together in person to make and share art

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The National Poll on Healthy Aging shows nearly one in five older adults say their mental health has gotten worse since the pandemic. As things get back to normal, some South Florida seniors hope they don't become that statistic. 

Nancy Fernandez goes to Cano Health's Wellness Center five days a week. 

"I like company. I'm a very outgoing person,” said Nancy. 

So when COVID-19 forced the center to temporarily shut down, Nancy was stuck at home perfecting her art technique but feeling isolated.

"I have some friends that died of COVID and it was very, very sad,” said Nancy. 

Now Nancy and many others are glad to be back together in person. 

It's a glass half full approach, a resilient attitude that keeps most moving. 

"This is like winning the lotto. It's really amazing how you feel. You feel the company you feel the friends,” said Nancy. 

Juana Melgarejo learned to paint at one of these weekly art classes at age 70. 

“It’s never too late to learn something new,” said Juana. 

Now at 74 years old, she has more than 200 paintings under her belt. 

“Art is therapy. Time passes and you don't realize it,” said Juana. 

The solitude during the pandemic was tough for this widow, but she's glad she can finally share her masterpieces with the friends she waited months to see. 

Combined, this group has painted hundreds of masterpieces, and Cano Health is now working to put together an art exhibit to feature and sell their artwork.

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