From drawing to performing, the arts have the potential to stimulate cognitive functioning and inspire creativity. This holds especially true for people with memory loss. While the creation of art is derived from our experience, it is also said to help trigger memories long forgotten. Elderly patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s have harnessed the power of art therapy to express themselves and retrieve moments, experiences, and feelings once lived. Arts and crafts boosts self-esteem, aids social skills and improves relaxation. Many assisted living facilities specializing in dementia offer crafts for seniors, such as Lakeside Manor. The artworks can include drawings of flowers, fruits, and birds, or maybe even creating paper flowers, demonstrating patients’ brighter outlook on life. If drawing frustrates them, colouring is always a possibility with many creative colouring books available in stores. Even printing pictures online for them to colour is a creative outlet for dementia patients. In addition to helping retrieve memories, art therapy has improved patients’ quality of life, providing them a fun, creative outlet that leads to personal growth.
Select pieces are part of an exhibit, Elder Expressions: Their Lives, Their Loves, Their Cherished Memories, now showing at the 100 Pearl Street Gallery. To view the exhibit and learn more about the potential of art therapy for treating dementia, please join us on Tuesday, May 27 at noon, for a Lunch & Learn session with Hebrew Health Care director Pamela K. Atwood. You will also have the opportunity to create your own artwork. Drinks and dessert will be provided. See you there!