Art therapy is a creative way for seniors to manage pain and stress and deal with memory loss. Studies have found that seniors who do art have fewer doctor’s visits, better physical health, and require less medication. They also fall less frequently. One study connected art to decreased rates of loneliness and depression, along with better hand dexterity and higher morale.
Here are some more of the art therapy benefits for seniors:
Going to museums, painting, sculpting, and many other types of art therapy are hugely helpful, and can actually help people with memory loss. In fact, the Alzheimer’s Disease Center in the United States believes that art therapy gets through to people with Alzheimer’s by exploiting parts of the brain with the least impairment. This can have a profound impact on their ability to access their memories.
Many seniors are impacted by arthritis, hypertension, and other pain. Art therapy is naturally relaxing and can help reduce stiffness and inflammation. Seniors are using their arms and fingers for art, and while this is light physical activity, it’s consistent, and can help promote better dexterity and blood flow. By using small, purposeful movements, they benefit from increased coordination and can more easily ignore their pain since they’re focused on their art.
Art therapy can reduce stress for people of all ages, but it’s particularly helpful for seniors and people with the early stages of memory loss. We have around 60,000 thoughts a day and many of these can be negative for people dealing with aging, so art therapy is particularly helpful. That’s because when seniors are engaged with an art therapy activity, they’re often ‘in the zone’ and can enjoy an almost meditative experience.
This sense of well-being can greatly reduce anxiety and stress in seniors.
Seniors struggling with health implications, memory loss, or mobility problems will commonly experience depression. When they create art, the symptoms of depression are often reduced due to mood and cognitive stimulation. Even seniors who have problems communicating verbally can still express their thoughts and feelings through their art.
Increased Communication and Socialisation
By getting involved in art projects, seniors can find it easier to connect with others, reducing the feelings of isolation and loneliness that are common in the twilight years. Many people who have dementia / Alzheimer’s can find it difficult to express themselves and communicate with others, and art therapy can help them do this by providing a visual means of communication.
Relief from Chronic Conditions
Growing older can be very difficult for some people, particularly people living with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, dementia, or are currently recovering from a stroke.
Dealing with these conditions and the limited mobility that can occur can sometimes be overwhelming. But art activities and crafts projects can provide some relief for these conditions. This can range from painting to pottery, games to puzzles. Coloring projects, scrapbooking, and other activiites give seniors something to look forward to, while taking their minds off their condition.
Improved Brain Function
As we age, so do our brains. This can make it difficult to carry out some tasks- particularly when living with dementia / Alzheimer’s. Art therapy for adults can help boost these cognitive functions, improving senior’s abilities to use logic and reasoning, problem solve, focus on tasks for a sustained period of time, and improve working memory.
Art therapy can make a massive difference when it comes to both the mental and physical health of seniors. To learn more about why we love art therapy, get in touch today.
Article re-blogged, original on Scalabrini.