Art, no matter the skill level of the artist, always produces content of value. The product can be of extreme importance to your aging loved one, but they gain benefits far beyond what they have created.
Stress relief. Anyone who engages regularly in art therapy can testify to its calming, soothing, effects. Recently, there's been a growing trend in adult coloring books2—people of all ages are enjoying the release of this mindless and soothing task. Zoning out while focusing your brain on something besides stress is the perfect way to make it disappear.
Self-expression. If the older adult in your life is coping with grief, loss, chronic illness, or other ongoing types of pain, it's easy to feel like their personality gets lost. Their identity can become wrapped up in that of a widow, widower, patient, or other labels with negative associations. Art therapy reminds them that they are a singular individual with a great deal to offer the world, and lets their personality shine through in their designs.
Help coping with trauma. Art therapy is frequently used to help people process trauma, and older adults are no different. It can be helpful for them to "paint" or "draw" their feelings about loss of a loved one, a serious medical condition, or troubling feelings or situations, like friends moving away.
Having a purpose. Once they've raised their families and retired from working life, many older adults miss the sense of purpose they once had. Art therapy is a useful tool to fill that void. Many individuals report a feeling of deep meaning in making something, sharing it, and displaying their creations.
Printable Coloring Book Activity:
Coloring Book Tulips
Art therapy for seniors can make just as much difference in their lives as other types of therapy, just in a different way. And a wonderful part of it is, you don't need to take them to a special location in order to access it. While trained art therapists can guide people through the process, there is still benefit to be found in creation, even if you're just working on things at home by yourself. All it takes is a few supplies, a little ingenuity, and a willing participant, to get stated on a journey towards increased mental well-being. Feel free to accompany your loved one on their therapeutic journey by doing art along with them. Who knows—before long, you will even begin to feel the benefits of this unique medicine yourself!
If you are unsure of how to best help an aging loved one, the trained and compassionate staff at Home Instead Senior Care is here to help you make that decision and gain the best in at-home care for older adults. Call us at (904) 363-6699
to find out more.
For more information, visit the
Institute of Aging website.