Written by Active Minds on Tuesday the 12th of February 2019.
Art therapy can have a multitude of benefits for someone living with dementia as it helps build relationships, lessen anxiety and create a sense of achievement. Expressing emotions and feelings through art can help your loved one communicate in new ways should they find verbal communications difficult.
Leisure and social activities are vital for a person living with dementia as they can help maintain a sense of familiarity. There are many different types of art therapy and it can be fun to explore which will benefit your loved one.
Colouring and painting
Typical art therapy activities and classes will usually involve drawing, painting and colouring.
Engaging with different mediums and textures such as Aquapaint, oil paints, chalks and pastels will allow your loved one to express themselves through art. Helping to stimulate and relax, colouring and painting have been shown to be fantastic activities for someone living with dementia and can be taken part both individually or in a group.
Providing both cognitive and sensory stimulation as well as preserving motor skills, flower arranging is a great way to explore creativity and engage the senses. Choose bright flowers with sturdy stems so they can be arranged and rearranged, or alternatively use artificial flowers which can be re-used. Arranging a floral display is a brilliant way to create a sense of accomplishment and help to improve mood.
Scrapbooking can be a really fantastic way to connect with your loved one and to help spark memories. Old photographs, ticket stubs and other memorabilia can be arranged in a scrapbook with other craft supplies such as textured ribbons or glitter to make it visually appealing.
Encourage your loved one to discuss the items as they place them in the book to help spark conversations and trigger memories. A good tip when scrapbooking with your loved one is to use photocopies of items so you can keep the originals safe. This also allows you to take part in the activity again should your loved one enjoy reminiscing.
Alternatively, the use of ‘Creative Scenes’ can evoke similar memories by reminding loved ones of past activities they enjoyed.
Visiting an art museum with your loved one can be an excellent way to engage the senses, encourage meaningful interactions and help cognitive ability. The peaceful nature of a museum can make this an excellent day out for someone living with dementia who enjoys art and can help aid relaxation.
Art therapy provides numerous benefits for someone living with dementia, from engaging the senses to improving dexterity and cognitive function. Working in groups is a fantastic way to aid social interaction and help improve mood. Explore the many ways you can integrate art activities in to your loved ones care by tailoring them to their interests and past hobbies.