Alzheimer’s disease affects a person’s memory. As the disease progresses, many people lose their ability to communicate verbally. Art therapy has increasingly been used to help adults with Alzheimer’s cope with their symptoms. Not only can art help them express their thoughts and feelings when they can no longer do so verbally, but it can also improve other areas—including cognitive health.
The positive effects that art therapy has on adults with Alzheimer’s begs the question: Can engaging in art help protect you from getting the disease in the first place?
Research says it’s possible.
Understanding the Relationship Between Art and Alzheimer’s
A study observed seniors between 85 and 89 years old without memory problems to see if they could find a relationship between engaging in art projects and risk of developing cognitive impairment. At the end of the study, they found those who engaged in art-related activities were less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment than those who did not.
4 Reasons Why Engaging in Art Might Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
- Strengthens the brain. Making art may prevent Alzheimer’s because creativity has been shown to help build connections in the brain. New connections strengthen the mind, which can stop memory loss and preserve cognitive functioning.
- Improves focus. Making art requires concentration. Like meditation, art requires you to focus on the present moment. Over time, this can reduce anxiety, minimize depression, and result in overall better brain health.
- Reduces stress. Stress can be harmful to the brain. Chronic stress can kill brain cells, reduce sociability, and even shrink the area of the brain responsible for memory and learning. Art can be an effective way to reduce stress. This may slow the progression of age-related cognitive decline.
- Regulates blood pressure. Research suggests that high blood pressure may increase the risk of dementia. By reducing stress and calming the mind, engaging in art can help seniors regulate their blood pressure.
Art Projects That May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
Seniors don’t need to be “good at art” to reap the benefits. Activities like coloring require little artistic ability while providing big mental benefits.
Other forms of art that can benefit seniors include:
- Painting and drawing
- Craft projects
- Creative writing
- Playing a musical instrument
The Cause of Alzheimer’s Is Unknown
One of the most difficult things about Alzheimer’s is that researchers don’t understand what causes it. This makes it difficult to know with certainty which factors can prevent the disease. But engaging in art is indeed worth considering.
Heritage Senior Communities Provides Memory Care
Heritage Senior Living provides memory care programs across Michigan. We help seniors with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia live their best quality of life.
We help seniors maintain as much independence as safely possible. We invite you to schedule a visit to see how seniors with dementia thrive in our care.