Benefits of Using Art Therapy for Dementia Treatment

For loved ones with dementia, there are myriad programs and therapies to help them maintain their physical and mental health, slow their disease’s progression, and make their life more fulfilling. Art therapy is one of these programs that provides not only an outlet for self-expression but fine motor exercise as well. 

Let’s discuss the benefits of art therapy and what activities there are to try. 

Benefits of Dementia Art Therapy

Dementia art therapy provides a host of benefits for loved ones in many aspects of their life, including cognitive, social, and physical. 

Increases Confidence

Making use of their creativity can initiate a sense of purpose and accomplishment for loved ones with dementia. They are given the freedom to create, whether it be drawing or mixing colors. This can promote independence and pride when their canvas is complete. Making a tangible art piece that they can share with others enhances their sense of self and boosts their confidence.

Additionally, art therapy for dementia patients can help feelings of anxiety and depression that are common with the progression of the disease. Through intuitive graphical presentation, your loved one is provided with a form of venting that can ease negative feelings and spark positive ones. 

Enhances Motor Skills

Any form of art therapy for dementia can help increase motor skills. Practicing art stimulates the parietal lobe, which is in charge of fine motor functions. Exercising their hands assists in maintaining their hand-brain interaction, which improves coordination and motor skills. Whether the work is complex or simple, constant mobility retains muscle function and promotes overall physical strength.

Maintains Social Connections

Loved ones who are coping with dementia may feel isolated, particularly in the later stages when communication becomes difficult. Creating art with a group allows them to non-verbally interact with the people around them. Art is a form of self-expression that creates an outlet for non-verbal individuals to communicate with others and convey their feelings.

Not only is creating art in a group setting beneficial for staying connected to others, but it’s also a fun activity that produces new, tangible memories. Many are able to remember that they created it and how they felt when they did.

art therapy for dementia patients

5 Art Therapy Activities for Dementia Patients

There are endless activities that your loved ones can take part in for their art therapy. These are some of the most popular. 

1. Coloring

Adult coloring books are an excellent option if a blank page is too overwhelming for your loved one. They can range from simple designs to more complex, depending on their cognitive abilities.

Adult coloring books have risen in popularity for having calming and de-stressing effects. 

2. Painting

There are so many ways to approach painting that are beneficial to loved ones with dementia. If the weather is nice, painting nature outside is a great activity to not only create art in a soothing environment but to lower stress levels, as well.

Another painting activity could be reminiscence painting, in which they use old photos to paint something from their past, helping them to hold on to memories. 

3. Sculpting

Sculpting is not only a fun, engaging activity but it’s also been found to boost overall feelings of well-being, relieve tension, and increase cognitive health and self-confidence.

The best mediums to start out with are modeling clay or squeezable sand, as it’s easier to use and clean up. 

4. Crafts

All crafts can offer your loved one with dementia a sense of accomplishment and pleasure, as well as help them to non-verbally express themselves.

Some simple crafts to try could include:

  • Collages
  • Craft kits
  • Jigsaw puzzles

5. Decorating Baked Goods

While baking may be a little too dangerous for some, decorating previously baked goods is a great creative outlet that still connects to the hobby.

Try decorating cookies or cupcakes. They allow for individualized designs so there is more room for creativity. Gingerbread kits are also a fun and fulfilling group art activity.

It’s essential to find an activity that your loved one enjoys doing to maximize the benefits of art therapy. 

Memory Care Therapy With Terra Vista

At Terra Vista, your loved one’s safety, health, and happiness are our top priority. Terra Vista is proudly partnered with Memory Care Corp and we have an abundance of programs designed specifically for our residents to benefit from art therapy, speech therapy, exercise, socialization, and much more in a safe environment.

When your loved ones call Terra Vista home, they’re a member of our tight–knit family. We are fully dedicated to providing them with unwavering care, an attentive environment, and life enriching activities to ensure that each day is fulfilling and joyful.

If you’re interested in learning more about our dementia care facility, call us at 630-793-0753, or contact us online.