A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words
We know that, in general, exercising our creative inner selves enhances quality of life and nurtures overall well-being but studies in art therapy confirm that creative, artistic pursuits can provide older adults especially with multiple benefits, having a positive effect on the mind, soul – even the body.
As well as being highly cathartic, art appreciation helps boost seniors’ happiness and confidence with artistic activities such as painting or colouring keeping their mind focused and giving them a sense of purpose. It is even known to reduce feelings of anxiety, isolation, thanks to the release of dopamine, the ‘feel-good’ chemical – a natural anti-depressant found in the body.
Just as with young children, something as simple as cutting and sticking or painting can help with an elderly person’s dexterity and motor skills. It also helps with hand-eye coordination; following a pattern or creating a design of their own stimulates different parts of the brain. Creative therapy is also an ideal activity for those with dementia and Alzheimer’s as painting or colouring will take them back to happy times spent as a child, or with their own children.
A study in the US concluded that the arts do have a positive effect on health and illness as we age and that artistic activities offer a wide range of benefits, including:
- providing a sense of control
- reducing depression and anxiety
- reducing boredom & helping with socialisation
- encouraging playfulness and a sense of humour
- improving cognition & offering sensory stimulation
- increasing self-esteem & fostering a stronger sense of identity
Here at Birchwood Care Services, we firmly believe in the therapeutic benefits of the creative arts and our team of dedicated carers are happy to support our clients with art sessions as well as taking them to local art events and exhibitions. Our friends at Birchwood House also regularly encourage residents to take part in art & craft sessions.
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