Creative Art Encourages Self-Expression, Which Makes It Particularly Beneficial In Senior Care
The Pegasus home care specialists in Toluca Lake and elsewhere want you to know about a special therapy. Experts have documented the therapeutic benefits of artistic effort for seniors. Their research confirms our observations that creative art can be helpful in caring for your loved one.
Creating something is a way of connecting. Art doesn’t recognize barriers such as language or disability. It’s an expression of emotions that are universal.
Art allows individuals to express themselves in ways that they may not otherwise be able to. In particular, people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia benefit from the opportunity to create. Although disease eventually steals their ability to speak, art provides an effective way to communicate.
Art therapists are trained in art techniques as well as psychology. Among their goals is the improvement of cognitive function. They emphasize that the process of creating is important, not how it’s done.
Consulting a therapist is usually a good idea, especially if your loved one has deep-seated emotional problems. Pegasus caregivers can help you find an appropriate professional if required. In many cases, it’s possible for you to assist your senior without outside help.
Creative Art Takes Many Forms
Painting may come to mind when you first consider art for your loved one. Painting and drawing are traditional among the arts. There are other options, depending on the individual’s overall health, including, but not limited to:
- Flower arranging
You may need to try more than one kind of art before finding a suitable activity for your loved one.
Supervision may be necessary if your senior loved one is cognitively impaired. Provide supplies that are non-toxic if they tend to put things in their mouth. Stimulate their creativity with colorful supplies and a variety of textures.
Try conversing with them about familiar experiences to get them started. Ask questions about the past. If necessary, start the project and offer encouragement as they take over.
Creative art leads to both mental and physical improvements. Among them are increased:
- Balance and gait
- Competence in everyday activities
- Problem-solving ability
- Reaction times
These all contribute to improving quality of life.
Creative Art Promotes Healing
Although humankind has always been creative, art as a therapeutic discipline has only been around since the 1940s. Professionals now incorporate creative art therapy in healing individuals of all ages. It’s helpful for many conditions, including:
- Chronic pain
Art therapy is effective on emotional, mental, and physical levels.
Research has shown that making art also helps healthy older adults. They experience improvements in their memory, ability to reason, and increased resilience. Their quality of life remains greater than those who are not involved in creative activity.
Experts emphasize that skill, talent, and the final product are of little importance. It’s the process of creating that is healing. Additional benefits for healthy or ill individuals who make art include:
- Sensory stimulation
- Sense of identity
These help reduce stress, which improves the individual’s well-being.
Looking at artwork can reduce stress or improve cognitive ability. Studies indicate that individuals who make art rather than observe art experience greater improvements. However, taking your loved one to a gallery can be helpful, if not inspirational, for both of you.
Some researchers are investigating the “human-to-human” aspects of creative art. They are looking at what they call “attunement.” Attunement refers to the quality of the interactions between two individuals and includes such things as:
- Being “present” for each other
- Active and appropriate responses
- Body language and facial expressions
They hypothesize that positive results or healing from art therapy only takes place within a relationship. The relationship may be with a therapist or other trusted individual.
Creative Art Helps Release Pent-Up Emotions
Thanks to the internet and movements such as #MeToo, younger men and women can talk about traumatic events. Older men and women had few opportunities to express their pain. They may have been shamed when they tried.
Creative art can help them release traumatic emotions. You may not understand what your senior is expressing in their artistic endeavor. That’s okay because it’s a healing process for your loved one.
Artistic expression is effective because it bypasses defenses that have accumulated over a lifetime. Art comes from intuition and the subconscious rather than from thinking. It provides a safe way of releasing difficult emotions.
It isn’t just your senior loved one that creative art helps. As a caregiver, you’re subject to a wide range of emotions and stress. Art is a healthy way of releasing your feelings.
Pegasus Senior Care Is Here To Help
Pegasus home care professionals in Toluca Lake and our other locations strive to improve the health of our clients. It’s easy for us to make a case for including creative art as part of senior care. We’ve seen how it benefits family caregivers and their loved ones.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. We show individuals dignity and respect for their privacy regardless of their medical needs. We’re here for you for whatever level of care your loved one of any age or condition needs.