Art therapy has many therapeutic benefits, including coping with trauma or stress, improving cognitive abilities in dementia and Alzheimer's patients, and improving communication skills and behaviors. There are a variety of forms of art therapy. Every individual will respond differently depending on their condition and the form of art therapy being utilized.
Art encourages socialization and provides an emotional outlet
New patients in a nursing home or assisted living facility sometimes have difficulty adjusting to their new surroundings. Art therapy gives the new patient a chance to meet other patients to encourage socialization, which can decrease depression and provide a sense of hope and security.
Painting and drawing promote relaxation and can serve as a means of self-expression. It can also help caregivers learn more about their loved ones and and improve their communication skills. Seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease often feel as though they have no control, while drawing or painting can provide a sense of full control and the opportunity to make whatever decisions they choose regarding the direction of their artwork.
Art therapy can be beneficial to seniors that suffer from arthritis and other painful conditions. For instance, crafts like needlepoint and crocheting projects will help aging hands that are riddled with arthritis. Using soft materials such as yarn and felt is soothing and aids in pain relief.
Using music as therapy
Music has been known to be a successful therapeutic treatment when conventional treatments aren’t even effective. When the patient hears music, they may begin to tap their foot to the beat or sing along which promotes movement and vocal articulacy. Elderly patients that don’t speak or move may start to show signs of improvement when listening to their favorite tunes. Music also helps seniors socialize with each other and can jog memories, taking them back to the time when they first heard that particular song. Caregivers may even notice a spike in blood pressure in an elderly comatose patient.
Using art therapy as a tool to help seniors has proven to be a remarkable tactic. Seniors get to express themselves, communicate, socialize and improve both cognitive and physical conditions. Art therapy can promote happiness, creativity and self-expression as well as instilling hope.