Our supportive senior community understands the difficult transition from on-the-go to assisted living. We know how vital it is, not only encourage individuality, creativity, and autonomy, but to provide the tools our elders need to successfully transition. Positively artful senior care supports these challenges while offering an outlet for anxiety and depression.
Senior Art Programs as Co-Therapies
Art programs are implemented as co-therapies all over the world. They can offer seniors mental, physical, and cognitive stimulation. The resulting memorabilia is a bonus. A simple weekly crafts day is thought to help sharpen focus and memory.
Promoting cognitive function is important for all seniors, especially those suffering from dementia such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Mental and physical heath are closely tied together regardless of preexisting conditions. Creative stimulation promotes well-being and self-esteem which escalates a positive health cycle.
Studies have been shown that art therapies can increase quality of life while providing dignified autonomy (1). Expressing strong emotions through creative endeavors offers a healthy coping mechanism to combat a wide range of confusing emotions. Art therapies are provided as a tool for senior self-care furthering their sense of independence.
Often elders feel isolated during their transition to care life and may experience mild to severe depression. Creative pursuits can alleviate depression and lessen feelings of isolation (2). Scientists have also shown art therapies are invaluable to those who suffer from PTSD (3). They address symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, avoidance, and withdrawal.
Artful Senior Care Costs
Sadly, there is not enough funding to implement art programs into all elder care facilities and families face the rising cost of senior care every day. Care givers could have a family craft day and involve everyone. The internet offers valuable resources for video instruction and step-by-step guides.
A search engine may be used to find a wide range of resources which are challenge specific. It is important to consider not only the benefits of the project, but the seniors’ physical abilities and safety as well. Using the phrase, ‘on a budget’ will produce inexpensive to cost free results.
Artful Senior Care Tips
It is essential to maintain an adult theme to avoid condescendence, but still allow for creativity. Another important tip is do not pressure anyone to finish his/her project. Provide a non-judgmental outlet for creative expression. Remember to provide a wide variety of safe materials and allow seniors to explore.
Start each art session with some sort of ritual warm up. Perhaps a walk outside or a few light yoga stretches such as sun salutations. This signals the body that it is time for a change and promotes the flow of creativity. Families can reorganize to create craft rooms or art nooks to designate a place for everyone to join in.
Make sure to ask family elders what they want to do for art therapy. There are many forms of at from hand sculpting and painting to sketching and photography. If he or she never learned to paint or draw perhaps they would like to now. Keep it simple, be patient, and have fun. The goal is to have as much fun as possible.