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January 25, 2021

Benefits of Art Therapy for Seniors

Even for those who do not consider themselves the most creative, there is something from building something from nothing that is therapeutic and fulfilling. Art therapy can help restore basic functions for seniors losing some motor skills, as well as provide a social environment that allows them to develop new, healthy relationships to help increase overall well-being.

What is Art Therapy?

According to Arttherapy.org,

“Art therapy is used to improve cognitive and sensorimotor functions, foster self-esteem and self-awareness, cultivate emotional resilience, promote insight, enhance social skills, reduce and resolve conflicts and distress, and advance societal and ecological change.”

Those who teach art therapy, called ‘art therapists,’ are educated and experienced in the art (no pun intended) of helping others find purpose and peace of mind through artistic endeavors. Because art therapy can refer to a range of different activities such as painting, drawing, and sculpting, it is hard to pin-point one solid definition of the practice.

Art therapy focuses on physical and visual stimuli, as opposed to the verbal stimuli of regular therapy. Due to this, patients find themselves expressing themselves and communicating in new ways, which stimulate areas of the brain left unused by many. Through art therapy, many seniors have found peace of body, mind, and spirit in this unique practice.

Benefits for Seniors of Art Therapy

As previously stated, there are many benefits of participating in art therapy. Some of them include:

Improvement of Motor Skills and Less Pain

Through art therapy, seniors are taught to use slow and deliberate movements that can help with restoring some motor function to seniors struggling with physical disabilities or ailments. These therapeutic movements can also help alleviate some pain in seniors as they focus on their art and not their pain.

Can Help Increase Mood and Alleviate Depression

Through the freedom of expression, art therapy allows for a creative way to communicate thoughts and feelings, which can help alleviate depression and make the patient feel more connected to their life and those around them.

Allows for a Friendly Environment to Build Healthy Relationships

Most art therapy is done in group sessions, though some professionals may offer one-to-one practices. Whether a senior decides to participate in a class or simply with an art therapist, the increased socialization can lead to an increase in mood and well-being as they build satisfying relationships.

Ultimately, art therapy can allow seniors the chance to explore new perspectives and express themselves in ways they may not have had the chance to previously. It is always best to do your research and ensure that your art therapist is a clinical professional. Exploring the world of art therapy can be a new and exciting experience, and one any senior can benefit from.

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