Art therapy is used in many sectors to help people feel calm and express themselves. It has found great success among seniors, including those who live independently at home as well as those who are in nursing facilities. Even seniors facing cognitive difficulties, such as dementia, have found great improvement psychologically as well as physiologically from these processes of working with the hands. Art can provide personal enjoyment and fulfillment and can also provide a welcome escape for seniors who deal with painful or debilitating diseases.
Art therapy can significantly improve a senior citizen’s mind, providing them with calming properties and relaxation. It can improve the symptoms of dementia and can help seniors cope with stress. Art therapy has also shown promise with seniors who are dealing with the aftereffects of trauma. Art therapy in all forms can provide mental stimulation, decrease depression and anxiety, decrease boredom and improve self-esteem.
While seniors may not be able to see a direct correlation between art therapy and their disease processes, art can actually improve certain physical symptoms by giving seniors a way to cope with pain and other distressing side effects of diseases and medications. Art also provides tactile and visual stimulation, providing action in different areas of the brain.
When seniors are handed paintbrushes, clay, cloth or yarn, they are able to use their creative abilities that have remained hidden due to their diseases. They may be able to do a craft that they used to do, or they may learn a new form of art or craft. Moreover, this creativity can light up different areas of the brain and give seniors a way to feel better about themselves and more in control of their lives.
Finally, with art, seniors can express themselves. Using colors and different media, seniors are able to express different feelings and sensations without having to use words, which can be difficult.