Alzheimer’s is a tricky disease. We don’t know what causes it, and we can’t cure it. Not yet, at least. But in the meantime, we can help those with the disease cope. If your loved one has Alzheimer’s, there are many options to help them continue to enjoy life.
Art Therapy for Adults With Alzheimer’s
One option that has been proven time and time again is art therapy. In this therapy, those with Alzheimer’s are typically given the tools to paint a picture and are assisted by trained and professional art therapists. While clay and pottery methods are also available, painting is the most popular.
Benefits of Art Therapy
Some of the proven benefits to art therapy include the following:
- Gives a new means of expression
Sometimes Alzheimer’s makes verbal communication difficult. Art makes it possible to express in a new way and to tell stories again. And it’s easy—much easier than learning a new language where there are rules. There are no rules with art. Participants become artists and have freedom to explore different techniques or even create their own.
- Decreases anxiety
Painting and other arts are known to help decrease stress and elevate the mood. Depression and anxiety can be difficult symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and creative arts restore joy and can help increase serotonin levels in the brain.
- Creates a feeling of accomplishment
Alzheimer’s is a challenging disease, one in which so much feels stolen from those who have it and their loved ones. Art isn’t something that is done right or wrong, and just doing it can be therapeutic. As a resident learns and tries new techniques, they can feel a sense of mastery and competency again.
- Reduces isolation
Typically, art therapy is done in a group setting at a memory care center. This way, those with similarities can be together doing something fun and non-competitive. Socializing is also a great way to decrease anxiety and increase quality of life.
- Stimulates the brain
Learning something new, expressing yourself, and creating art all stimulate the brain. While the brain may never go back to how it was before the disease, art therapy has been shown to ease frustration and renew enjoyment and quality of life.
What is most interesting about art therapy for Alzheimer’s is that some who participate seem to paint memories they seemingly forgot. The therapy can actually help bring forward dormant memories. This can be encouraging and often helps family members, too, reminding them that their loved one is still the same person. While art therapy will not cure the disease, reclaiming old memories and revisiting who you are is empowering for those with Alzheimer’s and their families.
Memory Care at Heritage
At Heritage Senior Communities, we have specialized memory care communities that are dedicated to enriching the lives of seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Give us a call today to take a tour and learn more about how we can help you and your loved one.