When you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s, it can be hard to find activities that bring meaning and joy to their life. Speech plays a crucial role in countless activities. As your loved one loses the ability to process language, these activities become harder and harder for them to enjoy. Because of this, the best activities for those living with Alzheimer’s are often activities that engage the non-verbal centers of the brain. 3 Art Therapy Activities for Those with Alzheimer’s
Art therapy has recently emerged as an effective therapeutic tool for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Through art therapy, individuals with Alzheimer’s can engage in an activity that is calming, mentally stimulating, and that provides a sense of achievement.
Perhaps most important of all, individuals with Alzheimer’s who take part in art therapy gain a non-verbal avenue to express themselves. This allows them to engage with their environment and communicate their innermost feelings, even as dementia makes verbal communication increasingly difficult.
Evidence of art therapy’s benefits for those with dementia has grown substantially over the past two decades.
Lester Potts may be the most famous successful case of art therapy for dementia. Potts was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 70. As his condition progressed, his family enrolled him in a care center for those with dementia. At the care center, Potts was encouraged to try watercolor painting by an artist who worked at the center.
Potts would paint his first picture at the age of 72, and it soon became apparent that he has a natural talent for watercolors. Over the next four years, he produced over 100 paintings, many of which are now exhibited in books and online. Painting brought calm, joy, and purpose to the final years of Potts’ life, and led his son to launch one of the most successful art therapy programs in America.
Another famous case is Mary Hecht, a Canadian sculptor. Hecht suffered from severe vascular dementia affecting the language and memory centers in her brain. Despite this, she was able to produce perfect sketches of artworks she’d made earlier in life, scenes from her past, and people she had known. Hecht’s case showed researchers that even in cases of advanced dementia, areas of the brain key to producing and engaging with visual art remain active and healthy.
Many studies have also shown that art therapy has numerous benefits for those with dementia. Researchers have found that various art therapy programs can reduce stress, minimize anxiety, and improve mood. They’ve also found that art therapy can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and slow its progress. Art therapy even benefits family caregivers, lowering stress and giving them a non-verbal way to connect with their loved ones.
Unsure which form of art therapy will work best for your loved one? Here are three art therapy activity suggestions from Visiting Angels CEO and President Larry Meigs.
In addition to the above suggestions, Larry offered tips for family caregivers who would like to try art therapy with their loved ones.
Finally, Larry suggests thinking outside the canvas and explore other art form. Drawing, sculpting, and scrapbooking are just a few of the other artistic activities your loved one might enjoy.
3 Art Therapy Activities for Those with Alzheimer’s 3 Art Therapy Activities for Those with Alzheimer’s 3 Art Therapy Activities for Those with Alzheimer’s 3 Art Therapy Activities for Those with Alzheimer’s 3 Art Therapy Activities for Those with Alzheimer’s 3 Art Therapy Activities for Those with Alzheimer’s 3 Art Therapy Activities for Those with Alzheimer’s 3 Art Therapy Activities for Those with Alzheimer’s
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