It was over a morning cup of tea that Zoe Hilger had the idea to combine her love of art with providing companionship to seniors.
“After the initial spark of the idea, I began to think about my grandmother who passed away in 2020. Prior to her passing, she was a big influence to me with art,” the 22-year-old said. “Anytime she would take care of me, there would always seem to be art involved in some way.”
In 2015, Hilger’s grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
“This changed the ways that the two of us could interact, as she became increasingly more limited,” Hilger said. “I couldn’t help but feel that she was lonely in her home because of these limitations, but never knew how to help or what she would have needed.”
Now, through her company, Creative Companion, Hilger can provide a way for other seniors to channel their natural creativity and have somebody to connect with socially. Hilger makes home visits for 60- or 90-minute sessions to create art with the client.
“Making art lets us relax, explore our thoughts and is a simple way for us to connect. In all of the art classes that I have been in, I have noticed that while we are making art, people of all backgrounds suddenly are talking like we have known each other for years,” Hilger said. “I always think it’s because it keeps our minds and hands busy enough to relax, while also stimulating our minds, allowing us to be our true selves. As for creating community, I want to get to know members of our area and give them the opportunity to share ideas, insights, memories and feelings.”
Hilger provides materials such as paper, paint, pencils, markers – and tea.
“I am a very avid tea drinker and would love to share a cup of tea,” she said.
Response so far has been positive.
“So many people are glad to see something like this in our community, especially for those with dementia (or) Alzheimer’s,” Hilger said. “I have also had several people feel connected to the idea as they also have seen a mom or dad struggle with Alzheimer’s and realize the importance of keeping your mind active and stimulated.”
While Creative Companion is primarily aimed at seniors, Hilger was recently approached to visit a person with autism who is in their 30s.
“I think this is another great idea, and I don’t see myself bound to serving any particulary demographic. I seek to connect with and serve members of our community,” she said. “So, I encourage anyone who thinks this may be for them or their loved one to reach out and we can figure something out.”
Hilger’s sessions are $25 for 60 minutes or $35 for 90 minutes, plus a $5 supply fee. For more, visit creativecompanion.my.canva.site.