Local creates coloring books for dementia patients


BUCKHANNON — Shanda Hoover, a Buckhannon native and owner of local business Mountain Mama Market and Artistry, recently collaborated with others to create a coloring book for patients with dementia.

Hoover was born and raised right here in Buckhannon. She has two children, Nathan and Catie, with her husband of 21 years, James. Hoover said “I had a photography business for the past, almost 12 years, and within the past seven years, I had been employed full-time as a photography. Once I began the photography business full-time, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I fought it for about a year and after that I told myself I was going to go for my dreams.”

“I wanted to have a place for photography, complete with a studio, but thought it would be cool to have a storefront too, since I’m a crafty person and like to draw and paint. That happened about a year ago and the store really took off and has kept me busy. So, the photography business is fizzling out some now,” said Hoover.

Hoover continued to explain that she prayed for another opportunity that had meaning. At that time Hoover’s cousin Jese Exline, a traveling nurse who currently works in Georgia, reached out to Hoover. The program delivers themed gifts to patient who have been diagnosed with dementia and/or sundowners). An example provided by Hoover was that the month of August has a mental health awareness theme. Hooved noted, “For August, we are going to do paint by number kits for patients and a couple other gifts, including some macrame rainbows made by my daughter Catie.”

This month, they are giving out the coloring books, which were designed by Hoover and printed by Ralston Press, along with crayons made by Hen House Hues. Hoover also said a flower pick was also inserted into the coloring books. The flower picks were made by Amy Botzet. In addition, crochet washcloths, made by Shari Phillips and Susie Higgins, will be making their way to those patients. “I feel like these gifts are going to really lift them up and the more I research about dementia, I hear that art is great for their minds and attitude. It is amazing to me that I prayed this prayer and out of the blue this came up and I’m just like wow, God!”

Hen House Hues owner Katherine Bush-Henzler is a former high-school English teacher, but currently a stay-at-home mom. “Hen House Hues was originally developed as a creative outlet from the monotony of high-stress work/home life. Hanging out in my workshop, The Hen House, derived from my love of farm life and my married name, Henzler, and creating crayons and crafts for my own kids was something I loved to do in my spare time,” said Bush-Henzler.

Bush-Henzler shared that she contributed her standard hue boxes (basic crayons) and my puzzle-shaped hue boxes for this project. “Shanda had contacted me about making my hue box crayons for this institute. My hue box crayons are larger and thicker than standard crayons and they are perfect for patients who might have trouble gripping a standard crayon. I also brainstormed with Shanda about contributing my puzzle hue box as well. The interesting and fun thing about the puzzle crayon box is it works the mind as well, as the puzzle box crayons can be put back a variety of ways, not one singular way. So, we thought an addition of the puzzle hue crayon box would specifically be good for these particular patients.”

“I have been living in Pennsylvania for a decade but moved back to my beautiful home state of West Virginia a year ago. This will be the place we finally plant roots. While we don’t live in Buckhannon, Buckhannon will always be my town. Any project that helps my community do something spectacular, I want to be a part of that. Shanda Hoover is an amazing human being who has invested so much into her community by helping local artists and donating her time to others. When she asked me to be a part of this beautiful project, I was absolutely honored. I think people forget that crayons are not just for kids, but everyone. Anyone, no matter the age, can be an artist,” said Bush-Henzler.

The website is henhousehues.com. Bush-Henzler noted, “I ship to anywhere in the United States and I also have crayons in store at Mountain Mama Market!”

Shanda Hoover can be reached by email [email protected] or mountainmamamarketwv.com, or by calling (304) 460-2259. Also stop by Mountain Mama Market and Artistry located at 14 North Kanawha Street, Buckhannon to purchase the items discussed above. There are also many other locally made items available.

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