Art, in its myriad of forms, is essential to living a life of well-being – especially for seniors. Even elderly individuals who shy away from creative pursuits find extraordinary joy and meaning when they muster up the pluck to pursue an artistic endeavor.
Painting and drawing are not the only available artistic paths for senior citizens. Art encompasses a wide variety of expressions, including dancing, music, weaving, writing poetry and crafting. Creative pursuits can be offered to seniors via dance therapy, music therapy and craft projects initiated at home or in nursing facilities.
Studies confirm that art produces both physiological and emotional well-being. Research also finds that art projects decrease depression and anxiety, conditions that often accompany chronic diseases in the elderly.
Art therapy has been shown to provide a sense of meaning and purpose to older individuals, who may otherwise gradually decline into depression. Neurological research also indicates that art projects encourage new neural pathways to form, which significantly benefits and improves cognitive abilities.
Benefits of Art for Seniors
Professionals who lead group sessions for the elderly and who offer art therapy to seniors confirm the following highly beneficial results for the elderly population when they engage in art-related activities:
- Cognition is improved through artistic activities.
- Art offers profound relaxation.
- Artistic projects help to increase socialization.
- A sense of humor is heightened through artistic expression.
- Sensory stimulation is experienced through artistic recreation.
- Boredom is decreased significantly in the elderly.
- Spirituality is developed through art.
- Art helps seniors to enhance communication with those around them.
- Artistic projects improve hand and eye coordination and concentration.
It’s a fact that brains age. However, creative aptitudes continue to flourish through the years. An elderly individual can enjoy the creative process just as much as a youth. Even the aging brain is cultivated through the substantial healing powers of art.
Creative Passions Ignite Meaning
A sense of purpose is often forged through art. Art is especially important when it comes to aging well. When individuals start gaining in years, a sense of uncertainty can start to emerge. Careers and family that once were the primary activities for individuals no longer have the same prominence in their lives as they once had.
Experts say that this lingering void can affect health and overall emotional well-being. However, artistic activities encourage problem solving in seniors, help them discover new sources of satisfaction and give them a sense of pride – especially when they share their artistic achievements, no matter how great or small, with family and friends.
An Inner Artist Resides Within
Everyone is creative and has the capacity to enjoy creative pursuits.
Seniors who are at first reluctant to starting art projects may do so out of fear they lack creative juices. Rather, with a little nudge, a senior who stores shoeboxes filled with photographic memories can bring them together in a momentous collage, wall hanging or scrapbook for the family coffee table.
A senior doesn’t have to be a Picasso to be artistically inspired! Any small gestures toward artistic endeavors will reap incredible joy and health benefits in seniors.
Various Forms of Art Therapy
In a nursing home or facility, older adults may shuffle to and fro. When the music starts, however, they dance. That’s the situation at some rehabilitation centers, where dance therapy inspires seniors to get out of their chairs and swing, albeit gently, on the dance floor. Seniors who experience dance therapy say it helps them get on their feet. The transformation from sadness and depression to elation and joy is inevitable with dance.
Music, too, has incredible healing influences in the elderly. Music programs for the elderly offer a sense of the present, inspiration and a reason to appreciate. In a family or even group setting, older individuals experience a unifying effect due to music alone. When seniors listen to music that fills them with rapture, they tend to also experience greater relaxation and an easing calmness—not to mention ear-to-ear smiles when the music takes them back to the days before their conditions kicked in.
Felting is another artistic project that many seniors enjoy. The creative process is not the only benefit. As the seniors work with colorful pieces of felt, they also engage in conversation with one another and share memories of those who made them smile. In the process of felting, they develop friendships, too, leaving behind painful isolation. As they recall life events with one another, their cognition and memory become readily accessible.
Art, in its most abstract form, or any form, can even help patients with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Nationwide projects bring art to assisted living facilities and community programs dedicated to serving the needs of patients with Alzheimer’s. Experts indicate that art can help Alzheimer’s patients experience clarity and connection with those they love. Plus, art on paper can leave a lasting legacy for a family, one that reminds family members and friends of a senior loved one who poured his or her efforts into the creative process.
А senior’s well-being is only enhanced with creative projects. When you cannot provide artistic outlets for a senior loved one, a companion care service can compassionately step in.
Assisting Hands Home Care – Chicago is a home care service provider that will send a qualified caregiver to your home to socialize with the senior and provide outlets that the senior enjoys. The elder care aide will converse with your loved one to discover his or her hobbies and interests and will help the senior pursue more of those activities. Common activities
Assisting Hands Home Care aides engage in include puzzles and board games. Aides also can transport the senior in their care to see friends and family or even art classes to experience the nurturing effects of socialization.