Imagine yourself sitting in a chair on a fine morning. You find yourself staring off into space without much of a coherent train of thought. Then you suddenly find a canvas in front of you with a table of brushes and paint. Without thinking twice, you create colors from strokes. Before you know it, time has passed and you’ve created something but you still don’t remember what you’re doing here.
Dementia is one of most difficult diseases to work with especially if the patient is a senior. In fact, there is no one size fits all type of care and often times it is the disease that causes burnout for caregivers because of the immense amount of time and patience needed for caring. However, caregivers could have some load off their shoulders if they engage their seniors in productive and creative activities such as art therapy.
However, the big question is “How could art therapy help me with my caregiving?”
You’ll be delighted to know that art therapy is more than just a creative distraction and hobby for your senior. In fact, it could also help improve them in coping with their dementia.
According to Cognitive Dynamics, seniors often lose themselves as they create something in a positive manner. This helps seniors cope and lessen negative emotions and thoughts that cross them whenever dementia would strike such as anxiety and depression.
For caregivers, this is certainly a breath of fresh air as this would allow them a bit of leeway and at least a few minutes’ break from caregiving. Though they will still have to keep an eye on their senior, their tasks won’t be as hectic as they would when art therapy is not used.
What’s also good about using art therapy as an adjunct to senior caregiving is that senior would be able to exercise control over themselves and their environment. Remember that art therapy is not just about painting and sketching, it could also involve other artistic mediums such as singing and dancing, which allows seniors to enjoy a creative way to exercise. An all-round fitness activity! Some studies also claim that art therapy improve cognition aside from word puzzles like word finder, crosswords puzzles and Sudoku.
Self-expression does not fall behind when we talk about the perks of art therapy. Another creative output for art therapy is creative writing. This serves as a perfect avenue for seniors to express themselves as positively as they could. Furthermore, self-expression also helps them cope with emotions that they can’t readily express verbally. It is also through this that seniors are given time to reminisce and reflect which helps them spiritually and psychologically.
Furthermore, using art therapy also help foster better relationships between seniors, caregivers and the people around them. Whenever they do not have any positive way of blowing steam or directing their frustrations because of their disease, seniors are sometimes unaware that they are hurting the people around them. This causes quite a distress to everyone involved. However, art therapy helps bridge people together because notonly it redirects energy into a positive and creative manner, it also allows caregivers and seniors to bond over something as they craft something wonderful.