There are many activities that can be both a source of comfort and good for your health. Things like creative art and hobbies can be forms of art therapy. Seniors who practice art therapy can enhance their wellbeing and live a less stressful life!
What is Art Therapy?
Art therapy uses the creative arts to help people cope with mental and physical stress through understanding, management, and expression. Research shows that while art therapy is often conducted by professional art therapists, many people see similar results by participating in regular art classes.
Many people think that art practices like painting and drawing are just hobbies but research shows that art therapy can be a valuable approach for improving senior’s physical and mental health. Art therapists guide seniors using different art forms to address health imbalance by using expression and motion to help restore normal life functions.
The Benefits of Art Therapy
Improved Cognitive Function
Art therapy challenges seniors to make art and stimulate the senses to become sharper. Learning new art forms can enhance thinking skills and make it easier to make quick neural connections that may have been lost due to aging.
Art therapy can reduce the feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress in seniors. Studies show that seniors who participated in creative arts experienced lower levels of depression and loneliness and were more positive in general.
Aging can lead to hearing and vision loss that often cause negative feelings and stress for seniors. Focusing on drawing objects using pencils or paint work to help those who are struggling relax and focus on positive feelings. Engaging in art therapy can help seniors better cope with these issues and provide positive outlets for their frustration.
Enhanced Motor Skills
When people practice skills like painting and drawing in an art therapy, they are physically exercising their hands and arms through movement. In doing so, they can improve muscle coordination, enhance blood flow, and build better dexterity over time.
Increased Social Interaction
During art therapy sessions, seniors have an opportunity to meet like-minded people to interact and connect with on a regular basis. These connections can combat loneliness and isolation while improving their emotional health.
Seniors may have challenges with verbal communication due to mental or physical deterioration. Art therapy provides an alternative method of expression for their feelings and thoughts. A professional therapist can guide seniors through creative projects that allow them to express themselves freely.
In addition, self-expression through art may help seniors better communicate with their loved ones or caregivers. Art therapy can help people deal with grief or serious medical issues and unlock a previously-hidden passion in the process.
Art therapy may also help with disorders associated with chronic pain. Those suffering from joint conditions like arthritis may relieve the pain from inflammation with art therapy because it allows them to focus more on their creativity and less on their pain. Art therapy also encourages relaxation which can help ease emotional pain.
New Thought Processes
Art therapy can also help people think differently about life by allowing them to engage parts of their body and brain that they do not use frequently. Exploring new movement and thoughts can help to reframe their perspectives and find new joy.
Practicing creative arts can help seniors who suffer from memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s or dementia. Painting and music may even help to uncover forgotten memories about loved ones and old times. It can also present those living with memory loss a moment of clarity and the ability to function optimally.
Art therapy can be very rewarding for seniors – it can promote healthy and positive feelings, enhance physical ability, and have a calming effect. Through the fun of creating, seniors will enjoy a better quality of life.
Given the benefits, it is a good idea to help the senior in your life sign up for an art therapy session or an art class to start exploring their creative side!