Incorporating art therapy into the lives of seniors has extraordinary benefits, particularly in regard to memory loss, stress management, and pain management. The targeted use of painting and other creative activities helps to keep the mind sharp while also promoting dexterity within a fun, social setting. By introducing seniors to areas of artistic interest, you’re providing them with an opportunity to develop a new hobby, or dive back into an old one. Each art therapy session is a chance for seniors to reap the benefits of reduced stress and pain, while also improving their memory cognition. Let’s take a deeper look at how art therapy can influence the lives of senior citizens.
1. Stress Reduction
When going through the initial stages of memory loss, life can be incredibly emotional and stressful. Through art, seniors can actively work through both their anxiety and negative feelings. Painting is naturally calming, and allows for one to forget about their stresses even if for a moment. Art allows one to fall into a sense of tranquility, which in turn allows seniors to momentarily forget about their larger stresses and focus on a wholly consuming activity. This in and of itself promotes healthy and happy feelings. Not only do artistic activities aid in reducing stress, but they also boost self-confidence. By engaging in art, seniors have the opportunity to communicate with others and in turn stimulate their sense of humor and playfulness. Art doesn’t only influence those dealing with memory loss, either. It can be a positive force for any older adult living with stress, and provides them with a creative outlet to unlock their deepest artistic desires.
2. Improved Memory
Focused activities, such as art, can have an incredibly positive impact on those experiencing memory loss. Anything from painting to sculpting challenges the mind and promotes several cognitive functions. Also, it has been reported that being creative can help reveal distinct connections and passions about a person’s individual world that could have otherwise been shrouded by memory loss. For senior citizens living with advanced memory loss or dementia, art can be a portal to remembering a loved one or place.
3. Pain Relief
As one ages, regular body functions tend to become more difficult and issues such as hypertension and arthritis present themselves. Chronic pain can be worsened by emotional distress too, in addition to other ailments. When focusing and engaging in regular art therapy, seniors can relax and thus relieve some of that pain. By incorporating their arms, hands, and fingers in addition to general relaxation, they can expect reduced inflammation and stiffness. Also, consistent physical movement promotes greater blood flow and overall dexterity.
Now, this isn’t to say that art therapy is a cure all for chronic pain. Sadly, that requires a bit more attention. Art therapy is relaxing, however. Relaxation of any kind not only benefits the mind, but also the body. Along with consistent care, art therapy is a fantastic way to engage seniors in creativity as well as allowing for light physical activity.