The benefits of art therapy for the elderly

Throughout history, art has been proven to have many benefits for both the creator and the viewer. Scientists have researched the subject extensively, and have found that seniors who practice art therapy regularly experience a range of physical, cognitive and psychological benefits.

What is art therapy?

Art Therapy is the application of creative art-making in a therapeutic relationship to promote well-being. The creative process provides an avenue for the free expression of inner thoughts, emotions, and experiences. Art acts as a bridge between the conscious and unconscious mind, making it possible to form meaningful insights about life experiences. Many people think that activities such as painting or drawing are just hobbies, but really they’re much more than that. They provide significant mental and physical health benefits to seniors.

Art Therapy Benefits

1. Enhanced motor skills

Art therapy helps to maintain fitter motor skills and dexterity. It is well known that the brain cannot distinguish between real and imaginary movements, so drawing or painting can be used to improve coordination. Repetitive tasks such as knitting, sewing and crochet can also improve coordination and motor skills.

2. Improved memory

Seniors who practice this type of therapy regularly tend to have better memories. This is not only supported by scientific evidence, but also by personal experience. Painting or listening to music can help uncover certain memories which may have been forgotten in the past.

3. Enhanced communication

Creative processes such as drawing, making collages, and painting can be used to express feelings that are usually difficult to express verbally. Creating art may also help seniors with social anxiety because it allows them to portray feelings that would normally be too uncomfortable or embarrassing to communicate directly. This is why people benefit from enhanced communication skills.

4. Improved self-esteem

This practice leads to increased self-confidence and self-esteem. Seniors feel better about themselves and their abilities to cope with problems and difficulties in their lives, because they have explored their thoughts and emotions through art therapy.

5. Greater self-expression

Seniors who practice art have greater flexibility when expressing themselves. They feel more comfortable with expressing their thoughts and emotions and are able to communicate more effectively with themselves, with others, and in the world at large.

Art therapy is a very beneficial hobby for elderly people. In fact, it is one of the most versatile hobbies that seniors can practice in their free time, providing they have the necessary skills and equipment. At Glenvale Villas, we always strive to reinvent the old and come up with creative and artsy activities for our residents to partake in.