Art therapy is the therapeutic use of creativity and art-making to improve and enhance the physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of individuals of all ages. Through creating art and reflecting on art products and processes, we can develop interpersonal skills, manage behaviors, reduce stress, increase awareness of ourselves and others, and cope with symptoms, enhance cognitive abilities, and enjoy the present moment. Art therapy is not a recreational activity or an art lesson, although it can incorporate recreation and art instruction. Clients do not need to have any experience with art.
How can art therapy positively impact individuals with dementia?
Art therapy provides individuals living with dementia an opportunity for self-expression, non-verbal communication, socialization, sensory stimulation, and reminiscence. Art therapy can promote independence, relaxation, and anxiety reduction. Through engaging with art materials in collaborative, group settings, people with dementia can strengthen relationships with peers, caregivers, and family members. Art therapy interventions can utilize strengths and reinforce existing cognitive abilities, while promoting fine motor skills and coordination.
Art therapy interventions can be introduced with individuals experiencing all stages of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia. Directives and materials can be adapted to fit various abilities and needs, utilizing clear steps, visual prompts, and tactile engagement.