About Art Therapy
Art therapists are healthcare professionals who use art as a means of communication and support, and are specially trained with a Masters' Degree in Art Therapy.
Art Therapy for Seniors
Art therapy can often allow older adults to work through their psychological issues more readily than talk therapy. Art therapists who practice with older adults ensure that these individuals maximize their psychological health and, by extension, their physical health.
They are trained to identify when additional interventions may be needed to ensure a positive mental attitude. In addition to the psychological and medical benefits of art therapy, people can also improve their interpersonal and social skills, communication, and cooperation-especially within group sessions. Adults can improve self-esteem by learning and mastering creative skills during art therapy sessions.
Creating art can aid seniors in communicating with caregivers and family, promoting awareness and self-expression, relieving anxiety, and coping with transition, confusion, illness, or discomfort. It can be a fun experience that residents look forward to and take great pride in.
Art can also be therapeutic. Older adults tend to have more chronic diseases and age-related functional impairments that affect vision, hearing, and balance. Commonly attendant to such disorders are chronic pain, anxiety, and depression. Making art can be an enjoyable experience that focuses the participant away from daily concerns and on the creative process. Some seniors, particularly those with cognitive, memory, and other impairments, may receive additional benefits.
From The Assisted Living Federation Of America (ALFA) & American Art Therapy Association
Benefits of Art Therapy for Seniors
- Promoting self-awareness and self-expression. Expressing oneself through art is a powerful, meaningful way to share our lives with others. Art also can help the memory-impaired access long-forgotten memories and increase self-esteem.
- Facilitating socialization and communication. Those who have difficulty expressing themselves or communicating with others find using visual means to be extremely helpful. Art provides another way to connect with those around you, which can help lessen feelings of loneliness and isolation.
- Improving cognitive skills and providing intellectual stimulation. Discussing art creations with others offers not only a way to communicate, but also intellectual stimulation and promotes memory health. Challenging aging individuals to create art allows them to expand their minds and look at things in a way they might not normally consider.
- Reducing boredom. Art is a recreational activity and offers a fun and fulfilling way to spend free time.
- Improving physical/motor skills. Creating artwork helps benefit coordination through small, purposeful movements, leading to less pain and even an enhanced immune system.
- Decreasing stress and depression. Tapping into the emotions needed to create artwork allows for open expression of feelings, helping to relieve stress, anxiety and confusion.