Art has always been a powerful tool for self-expression, but for seniors in particular, it can be integral for helping address a number of physical and mental health ailments.
Art therapy is the therapeutic use of art for people who suffer from illness or trauma – and it’s something that’s being increasingly used by caregivers to help seniors living at home cope with the wide range of challenges that come with aging.
But what are some of the benefits of art therapy?
A Variety of Mental Health Benefits
Art therapy provides a senior the opportunity to work through anxiety and negative feelings. The calming nature of creating takes the mind off larger stresses, and builds confidence and self-esteem – which can improve a senior’s quality of life.
Art therapy is also a common treatment for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s, with a focus on reducing anxiety and increasing attention. For many seniors, the unseen danger is isolation, and when communication becomes difficult for seniors with dementia, these feelings of isolation only increase. Art can be a powerful means for which to communicate and express themselves – and alleviate the feelings of depression and anxiety that isolation can cause.
Not only does the relaxing nature of art therapy take someone’s mind off of chronic pain, but the physical activities associated with making art can also reduce physical inflammation and stiffness.
Activities such as painting, sculpture, or needlepoint engage the fingers, hands, and arms. It may be light, but the consistent physical activity can promote better blood flow and dexterity. The simple act of using a paintbrush can rehabilitate physical upper-body weaknesses.
With only a few supplies, and a little bit of time, you can elevate your loved one’s mood, and help promote their emotional and physical wellbeing. Maybe it’ll become a cherished hobby, and a way for you to connect and grow closer to each other.
Have you ever tried art therapy? What kind of activities did you do? Let us know in the comments.