The effectiveness of art therapy is a source of interest for many and in recent years, more and more studies are showing its positive impacts on the mental well-being of older adults. This is particularly true for those suffering from trauma, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease. The benefits of art therapy for seniors have been extensively studied and found to be generally positive so read on to find out more about how you can help your loved ones through art.
What Is Art Therapy?
Art therapy is a form of therapy that uses artistic methods to stimulate the body and mind. It is commonly used for those who are suffering from illnesses that affect cognitive functions such as dementia and depression. It primarily works by encouraging self-expression and creativity with art as the alternative medium of communication. This is especially helpful for those with limited verbal abilities. Through this more visual way of communicating, your loved ones will be able to express themselves freely and have an outlet to unleash their imagination. This in turn will help reduce their stress levels, combat depression and imbue in them a sense of accomplishment. Art therapy may also help them better connect with memories they have otherwise forgotten to age or disease.
Art therapy comes in various forms, including dancing, playing musical instruments, painting, and more.
What Are The Benefits of Art Therapy?
A study on the benefits of art therapy for older adults was conducted by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. They found that this form of therapy can help make a marked improvement on the quality of life of older adults. Here are some of the positive effects of art therapy:
- Helps to reduce stress and decreases the risk of depression
- Provides an outlet to help cope with trauma
- Stimulates the brain and helps improve cognitive functions, in some cases even triggering lost memories
- Encourages physical ability and helps promote coordination, in some cases decreasing pain from diseases such as Arthritis
- Imbues a sense of accomplishment and improves self-esteem and self-image
- Encourages communication and self-expression, particularly in those that struggle to verbalize themselves or connect with loved ones
- Restores a general sense of well-being
Proper Procedure for Art Therapy
If you are considering art therapy for your loved ones then consider taking the following steps.
- Make sure to use non-toxic materials
- Start off easy and make manageable goals to encourage engagement and boost their confidence
- Keep a steady stream of conversation and guide them through the process slowly
- Bright colors and interesting visuals are encouraged
- Ask them to actively recall childhood memories when drawing or painting to engage their minds
- When their artwork is complete, feature it somewhere visible to promote a sense of self-satisfaction
Art therapy is extremely beneficial for older adults and is very easy to implement in your day-to-day life. So if you or your loved ones plan to partake in some recreational art activities, they can join classes offered in our community. Alternatively, you are not keen on making your own art, you can also pay visits to nearby art museums and admire the art from afar.