TAMPA, Fla. (July 26, 2022) — When the Watermark at Trinity – an independent, assisted living and memory care community in Pasco County – opened in 2016, Ray Auclair joined the team as a maintenance associate. Recently retired, the job allowed him to get out of the house and interact with his neighbors. Today, Auclair teaches art classes at the community once a week.
The career change may seem like an odd transition, but for Ray it’s a perfect fit.
“I’ve been an artist all my life,” said Auclair, who teaches art classes at 11 senior living communities in the area, including The Watermark at Trinity. “I was school trained back in high school and was doing pet portraits when someone at the community found my Facebook page. They asked if I could teach an art class to the residents, and I said, ‘why not?’ The residents may not be at my skill level, but I wanted to show them what they’re capable of doing.”
The class, held every Wednesday at the community’s assisted living neighborhood, is set up like Painting with a Twist. Auclair picks a painting for the week and demonstrates to residents how to recreate it on their own. Some weeks he creates templates for the residents to work from, other weeks they work from a blank canvas.
“It’s really about tailoring the class to the participants and their abilities,” said Auclair. “We’ve had people who are legally blind, and others who are in the early stages of dementia. Some of them have never picked up a paint brush before, but we have a lot of fun together.”
Many residents attend the class weekly, and their abilities have improved over the course of the class. In just a few short weeks, residents have gone from not being able to paint to creating beautiful scenes. Others have rediscovered a passion that brings them joy.
“In the beginning, I got the same line over and over again from residents that they can’t even draw a straight line,” said Auclair. “And I said, I bet you can’t, but I’ll show you how. They went along with it and found out they can create something beautiful. It takes time to develop the skill, but this is more about participating and having something to look forward to in life.”
In addition to art classes, The Watermark at Trinity hosts educational events, interactive music classes, cooking demonstrations, and more. The community, which is operated by Watermark Retirement Communities, places a strong emphasis on resident well-being. Each program, event, outing and experience, is created with the four pillars of well-being in mind – mind, body, spirit, and community – then tailored to the individual resident.
“We’re really focused on creating an environment where our residents thrive,” said Linda Wiley, Executive Director of The Watermark at Trinity. “Whether that’s through an art or music class, or an outing to a local museum, our calendar of events aims to engage residents’ minds and keep them involved with their neighbors and the local community.”
For Auclair, staying involved at the community was an easy decision.
“Everyone is so happy there, and what I’m doing makes the residents happy,” he added. “That was true when I started working at Watermark back in 2016 and it’s true today.”
Auclair’s art is available for sale at rayauclairart.com.
About The Watermark at Trinity
Located in Trinity, Fla., The Watermark at Trinity is a 218-residence retirement community offering independent living, assisted living and memory care in the Pasco County suburb of Trinity. Differentiators of the community include certified associates, continuous care and an extraordinary lifestyle built on an abundance of choices. Owned and managed by Watermark Retirement Communities, The Watermark at Trinity is committed to creating an extraordinary community where people thrive. To learn more visit www.WatermarkCommunities.com.
About Watermark Retirement Communities®
Watermark creates extraordinary and innovative communities where people thrive. We believe aging is about renewal rather than retirement. Watermark communities are known for highly trained and caring associates, a lifestyle built on choice, fine amenities, integrative wellness and innovative programs including the award-winning Watermark University featuring a wide variety of engaging classes for residents and area seniors. Watermark has been named in the top 25 Best Workplaces for Aging Services in a national program conducted by the Great Place to Work Institute and published on Fortune.com. A privately held company with a reputation for over 30 years for service, innovation, integrity and financial stability, Watermark manages more than 70 retirement communities in 22 states coast to coast. Based in Tucson AZ, Watermark is ranked as the nation’s 9th-leading senior housing operator by the American Seniors Housing Association. Visit watermarkcommunities.com for more information.