Seniors and art therapy

Posted by Jhan Dudley on

There is power in art. It is everywhere around us providing a sense of well-being and enjoyment, including for seniors. It does not matter if a senior lives with chronic pain, has memory issues, or is just a bit depressed due to inactivity. There are multiple benefits of art therapy for seniors.

Choose from painting, drawing, sketching, music, dancing, knitting, weaving, and creating collages. There are endless possibilities to engage a senior who is lonely, depressed, has memory loss or is in pain. You can find something that will help them become less stressed and gain a sense of well-being.

Engaging seniors in an activity that challenges their creative self can help sharpen the mind and enhance cognitive function.
Art therapy puts seniors in a social setting where they can relate with others.
Creating art can bring hidden or forgotten feelings to the surface and gives seniors a new outlet for their emotions.
Art therapy creates a calming effect and can help to manage behavior.
Certain types of art can help improve dexterity and motor skills.
Seniors who live with chronic pain can find themselves depressed and discouraged. Art therapy can relieve that stress and help with pain management.
A senior whose hobby was to care for her garden might remember her favorite flower and want to paint or sketch it. Choosing the right colours and making a decision gives her a sense of control she may feel she has lost.
Dementia patients might not remember the year they were born, but they may remember how to knit. Creating baby bibs or small blankets for a local hospital will give them purpose.

Senior care art therapy can help a patient with dementia to express themselves when other types of communication are failing or no longer exist at all.
This writer was a caregiver for my mother with dementia. She was anxious and fearful whenever she left home. I would bring her to my house specifically to complete art projects. One day we painted a garden bench: I painted one side, she the other. She was immediately engaged, forgot her fears, asked for constant affirmation and was so proud of her work. It was one of the few kinds of activities we could do together where she was relaxed and enjoyed herself.

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