Many humans describe their enjoyment in the arts as the most fulfilling life experience. According to various studies, practicing the arts can be very beneficial to the elderly. By becoming engaged with art, many seniors can spend their time in a more meaningful way, and it can also have therapeutic properties. By becoming a person that does art, older adults can share their talents with others, become valuable members of their respected communities, and also have their brains running on all cylinders. For seniors who already have some type of degenerative disease, the benefits of practicing art can have an even greater consequence on their lives.
According to scientists, art therapy has a positive effect on both psychological and physiological aspects of human life. In addition to affecting one’s well-being, art will also have an immeasurable effect on a person’s cognition. It was proven that art therapy has the most positive effect on those who already have degenerative diseases. Patients with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s are those who can reap the most significant benefits and help lower the impact of these conditions on their lives. By enjoying art, older people not only find a way to spend their time doing something useful, but they will also put their brain to work. Through art, seniors can improve their cognitive function and even create new neural pathways. All patients who have engaged themselves in art have seen improvement in their cognition.
Art Therapy for Seniors with Dementia
There are many therapies that are highly beneficial for people with dementia, and art therapy belongs to that group. Its effectiveness lies in the fact that practicing art engages both hemispheres of the brain. People who work with art and create it benefit greatly. By creating something meaningful, we physically change our mind, which can have a significant effect on degenerative diseases such as dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Creating art was a social activity in our early ages, and it remains like that to the present day. It allows those who practice it to not only create art but to give others the chance to express themselves by communicating about the work of art they are seeing. Many seniors who start making art find themselves re-engaged with their community. Furthermore, many get recognition from their peers and loved ones that they didn’t have before by merely expressing themselves. All of these things combined make a person feel good about themselves, which is highly beneficial for their well-being.
In some cases, the elderly find that they have talents they weren’t even aware of. There have been cases of world-renowned artists who have discovered their skills in the later stages of their lives. For example, we have Grandma Moses who started painting at the fragile age of 78. In the next two decades, she created some of the most famous folk paintings in American history.
These days we even have seniors who engage themselves in street art. In Europe, more precisely in Portugal and Germany, there are programs that connect the elderly with young graffiti and street artists so that they can engage in this type of art.
The benefit that many see is the socialization. Elderly adults who engage themselves with other people are less prone to fall into depression. This condition is becoming more and more common among seniors. Because of this, it is essential for seniors to engage in activities such as art. Seniors who socialize through art can facilitate relaxation, reduce anxiety and depression, improve cognitive function, increase self-esteem, and alleviate boredom.
With art, older adults can have fun while at the same time reaping the health benefits this activity provides.
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