There are many therapies and activities that are not only good for one’s mental health and well-being but are also a great source of comfort. Art therapy involves stimulating a person’s creative side, providing them with an outlet that helps them cope with mental and physical stress through expression that transcends the normal scope of understanding.
Even today, it is a common belief that practices like painting and drawing are simple hobbies. However, according to research [source], art therapy for the elderly can prove to be a very valuable approach for improving their physical and mental health. The expression and motion involved in such senior citizen activities lets one use different art forms to address health imbalances and restore normal life functions.
About Art Therapy Activities for the Elderly
The goal of art therapy for older adults is to stimulate not only the body but also the mind using artistic methods. Art is a common therapy used to help patients with Alzheimer’s. trauma, or illnesses. Art offers the elderly an alternative method for communication, especially when there are speech limitations.
From scrapbooking, photography, and dancing to painting and drawing, art therapy encompasses various mediums and can help lower stress and depression and generate a higher sense of well-being and connect with memories that may otherwise have been forgotten.
Benefits of Art Therapy
During one’s golden years, a decline in physical strength and cognitive abilities leads to a change in lifestyle, where loneliness and inactivity can act as a gateway to several serious issues. For seniors, care services many times harness art therapy to foster healing and mental well-being.
Art partially returns to seniors what they may have lost because of crippling diseases or old age. Some of the best benefits of art therapy for seniors include:
1. Improved Cognitive Function
One of the best benefits of using painting and art therapy for the elderly is that they are challenged to make art, which stimulates and sharpens the senses. In fact, learning a new art form can enhance one’s thinking skills, which also makes it easier for them to make neural connections that may have been lost in the ravages of time.
2. Improved Mood
Another benefit of art therapy activities is that they can help reduce feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression. According to studies [source], seniors who participate in creative activities are more positive in general.
All the changes in abilities and strength that come with old age, like loss of vision or hearing, mobility issues, etc. can often generate negative feelings and stress in the elderly. When one focuses on drawing or painting, the therapy becomes a positive outlet for frustration, helping them relax and focus instead on positive feelings.
3. Enhanced Motor Skills
When the elderly practice skills involved in art therapy, drawing and other such activities, they move their hands and arms, which is basically a physical activity. It can help improve muscle coordination, build dexterity, and enhance blood flow over time.
4. Increased Social Interaction
One of the best benefits of art therapy is that they offer seniors an opportunity to meet like-minded people with whom they can connect and interact on a regular basis. That is how art therapy also helps seniors combat loneliness and isolation, improving their emotional health as well.
5. Greater Self-Expression
Challenges with verbal communication caused by mental or physical deterioration is common with old age. Combatting this, one of the benefits of art therapy for seniors is that it offers seniors an alternate method of expression for their thoughts and feelings. For using art therapy, drawing, painting, or other such activities as a creative project for seniors to express themselves freely, professional guidance may be opted for.
Additionally, using art for self-expression, apart from being a way to communicate with loved ones and caregivers, can help people deal with grief or serious issues and may even unlock a hitherto undiscovered passion.
6. Pain Relief
Art therapy can also help the elderly deal with disorders related to chronic pain. People who are suffering from conditions related to joint pain, like arthritis can relieve the pain caused by inflammation as it helps a person concentrate more on their creativity and less on their pain. Art therapy can also ease emotional pain by encouraging relaxation.
7. New Thought Processes
Another one of the benefits of art therapy is that it requires people to engage parts of their brain and body that they may not be using frequently. As the elderly explore new movements and thoughts, it helps them reframe their perspectives and find new ways of experiencing joy.
8. Improved Memory
Practising art therapy proves to be very beneficial for seniors who suffer from memory issues like Alzheimer’s or dementia. Art, and even music, can help uncover memories of loved ones and good times that may have been forgotten. People who may be living with memory loss can gain a moment of clarity that offers them the ability to function optimally.
Art therapy is not limited to drawing and painting, but can also encompass activities like singing, weaving, storytelling, poetry and much more, as long as it engages one’s creativity. The benefits of art therapy for seniors are manifold, regardless of the form chosen.
Emoha offers a wide range of elder care services. From verified nurses and caretakers to emergency support services and companionship, if you have an elderly loved one who needs assistance, you can trust Emoha. For us, it is always #EldersFirst.