With the US’ increasingly aging population, it is no surprise that dementia rates are rising as well. For those with loved ones affected by dementia, you may have trouble helping your senior loved one cope. The great news is that various helpful forms of therapy are rising in popularity, one being art therapy. You may ask, what exactly is art therapy?
Art therapy is a mental health service that involves artistic, creative activities such as drawing, painting, photography, sculpting, and more. The benefits of art therapy are endless, especially for older adults with aging-related issues.
Providing Physical and Mental Exercise
Dementia, especially in the later stages, can take a huge physical toll on your loved one’s body. Art therapy counters this by providing a light form of exercise, especially for the hands. It trains and preserves hand-eye coordination and motor skills. In the long term, this means that your loved ones can enjoy a higher quality of life, maintaining their dexterity and muscle coordination.
Art therapy is also a wonderful way for your loved ones to get some brain exercises in as well. A well-known problem dementia patients face is memory loss, which is why it’s great to know that art therapy can help them to trigger the return of forgotten memories. Furthermore, artistic activities stimulate creativity and imagination, improving patients’ cognitive skills.
Joyful Artistic Experiences
Another frequent issue with dementia is the various emotional struggles a patient might face. Some examples would be:
- Low confidence and self-esteem
- Low sense of humor and joy
- Emotional outbursts
Art therapy is a lovely form of emotional aid for the elderly struggling with dementia. It is a calming process for the patients, giving them full control of their artwork, providing a sense of accomplishment when they complete one. Based on a 2018 research study of participants aged 65 and above, art therapy can not only improve the self-esteem of older adults but also reduce depression.
By encouraging your elderly loved one’s emotional health to improve, their physical health is sure to follow.
Developing Social Skills and Connections
Your elderly loved ones have two options for art therapy: individual and group therapy sessions. Both have their advantages, and you should choose the one they are more comfortable participating in.
Art therapists encourage them to build communication skills in a secure and supervised environment. This promotes self-expression skills, both verbally through interaction with a therapist and non-verbally through artistic activities. Not only can it be socially rewarding, but it can also lessen feelings of loneliness.
Group art therapy sessions are a fun, engaging method of introducing your loved one to other participants in a similar situation on a regular basis. By meeting like-minded friends battling similar conditions, they will understand that they aren’t alone, and they can give and receive support from other participants.
If you think your loved ones with dementia thrive in a supportive environment, consider the benefits of moving them into a senior living community like Discovery Village At Sugarloaf. Our team members are not only well-equipped to provide for residents facing dementia but are also warm and welcoming.