Why Art Therapy is Good for Dementia

By March 23, 2016Dementia
Older woman painting in a park

For seniors suffering from Dementia or Alzheimer’s, it may be a good idea for them to start expressing their creativity. Art therapy is a wonderful tool that helps enhance the quality of life for seniors who suffer from cognitive diseases.

Art gives seniors the ability to express their emotions, which is increasingly important for those who have lost their ability to communicate. Art provides memory loss patients with a different way to express themselves through joy. Art is simple yet profound. It can bring joy and happiness into the life of a senior who is experiencing steady decline.

Art therapy stimulates the brain. It can hold the interest of a senior, keeping them interested and engaged, despite the fact that Dementia or Alzheimer’s may make it quite challenging for them to concentrate. For example, there have been cases where seniors who had stopped cooking – although they used to love doing so – began cooking again after taking part in art therapy; one such patient cooked Thanksgiving dinner for her entire family.

There are many ways to get seniors involved in art therapy. There are art contests and foundations that provide programs for seniors to get involved in artistic activities. Some senior centers and organizations will have contests, and groups such as Artists for Alzheimer’s develop programs that offer community arts and cultural programs for over 10,000 Alzheimer’s patients.

What does art therapy really do for the brain? It provides calm. While creating art, seniors can easily “lose themselves” in the process. In other words, become deeply relaxed, a feeling they may not have felt for some time. Anxiety is lessened, which takes some of the stress off of the mind. After having completed a piece of art, seniors can feel a sense of accomplishment and dignity. Commonly, seniors are actually more easily cared for after they have taken part in some sort of art therapy, as they are calmer and less depressed.

A local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association can provide locations of art therapy programs. Other local care centers or assisted-living facilities may also be able to help. It’s important to remember that art isn’t just some frivolous activity, but one that can actually inspire memories and promote positive emotions. At the very least, for those seniors who were once creative, they can tune into that almost subconscious ability they had before, and find a sense of normalcy again.

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LivHOME

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