Tap into Memories using Art Therapy
Progressive memory loss is one of the major symptoms of dementia. Sufferers begin to forget people, places, events, and skills, and struggle to separate fact from fiction. This can be distressing for both the person with dementia and his or her caregivers, family members, and close friends.
Art therapy can improve the quality of life for all involved. It provides a unique opportunity for individual expression through color, shape, and line, and stimulates the frontal lobe of the brain, tapping into the subconscious and improving memory recall. Using art therapy, aging parents can make connections to the world through design.
Family members, or close friends can create a project together with their loved one or work side by side on individual projects. Even persons with no previous art talent can express themselves. However, all will need patience, persistence, and encouragement.
The Benefits of Art Therapy:
- Deeply buried emotions can emerge.
- Communication is achieved and connections maintained.
- Conversations are sometimes started.
- Experiences, earlier memories, facts, and skills are remembered.
- Spirits are lifted.
- Self-esteem is improved.
- A sense of independence is felt.
- Psychological effects of dementia become easier to cope with.
- Depression is ameliorated.
- Cognition is improved.
- Social skills are re-established.
Items To Have On Hand:
- books or pictures of birds, flowers, animals, insects, plants, or other things concerning nature
- large pieces of poster board, cardboard, canvas, or other materials on which your loved one can paint or draw
- a variety of paints and brushes
- thick, large pieces of chalk in a variety of colors
- an easel or hard surface
- a place to show off art creations
Remember the key is to look at what your loved one is able to do and then build on it! Art is a way to communicate, help the inner person to “stay alive,” and remember!