Seniors can use many different types of activities to slow cognitive decline and improve the quality of their lives. One of the most effective choices is art therapy. Using art therapy helps seniors unleash their creative side with paintings, drawings, sculptures and other artworks.
For many seniors, art therapy becomes an important part of maintaining good mental and physical health. It has been proven to release stress and resolve emotional trauma. Art therapy is used to treat everything from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) through to anxiety. It can even slow the progression of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.
This article will take a closer look at art therapy, explaining how it works and how it can help seniors.
How Does Art Therapy Work?
Art therapy uses the process of self-expression to help a person share their inner thoughts. Seniors can use their art works to showcase their emotions, opinions, thoughts, and creative side.
When an artist expresses their emotions in an art work it can be quite therapeutic. They can express how they really feel, without struggling to put it into words. This is one of the reasons why art therapy helps to relieve stress and anxiety — particularly for seniors struggling to communicate.
When creating art, seniors can enter a mental state called flow (also called “the zone” or “hyperfocus”). In this state, the person is fully immersed in the activity they are performing. They are completely focused, energized, and enjoying the process of creating art. Their concept of time changes when they enter this state.
Being so focused on a single activity also helps seniors relieve stress and anxiety. It can even help with other mental conditions like depression. Enjoying a few hours of flow each day can also dramatically improve a senior’s quality of life and mood.
The contemplation and creativity required to create art also helps seniors improve the health of their brains. An artist uses many parts of their brain during the creative process. They will access memories, use the visual cortex, use fine motor skills, access their emotions, and combine it all with creativity. Scientists suspect the high level of brain activity required to make art helps to reduce dementia and Alzheimer’s symptoms.
What Conditions Can Art Therapy Treat?
Here are just a few of the conditions which can be treated with art therapy.
Alzheimer’s and dementia
Even though a person with a neurodegenerative condition may struggle to remember names and dates, they can still create art. They use their muscle memory and access many parts of their brain while creating art, slowing the progression of their disease. Other forms of physical therapy like dance can also help patients with neurodegenerative conditions.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
PTSD can be a devastating illness. The symptoms include flashbacks to the traumatic events, nightmares, panic attacks and insomnia. Producing art helps to relieve the stress of PTSD suffers and allows them to let out some of the emotions behind their condition. Art therapy can also be used to help people deal with grief or loss.
All humans suffer from cognitive decline as they get older. Their memory becomes less reliable and they struggle to learn new things. Art therapy helps to slow age-related cognitive decline by encouraging participants to use more parts of their brain. It is much more mentally engaging than watching television or reading a magazine.
Depression and anxiety
Depression and anxiety are quite common amongst seniors. Art therapy can help to relieve the conditions of both symptoms, improving the quality of a person’s life.
Researchers have even discovered that art therapy can treat addictions and compulsive disorders. Art therapy is effective at treating these conditions because it makes the artist enter into a state of flow. They forget about the additions and compulsions that normally take over their lives.
How All Heart Home Care Can Help
All Heart Home Care is an experienced home care provider located in San Diego. We provide talented caregivers who work in a client’s home, helping them with everything from cleaning the home to cooking meals and providing transportation.
Our caregivers can also help seniors enjoy art therapy. They will provide the materials and instructions needed to start creating art. Our caregivers can also clean up any mess that is made after the session is finished. Your loved one can enjoy the benefits of art therapy in their own home!
If you would like to learn more about the home care services that All Heart Home Care provides, contact us today on 619-736-4677.