It is possible to use art to help people with memory and dementia issues. A person who has a cognitive disease such as Alzheimer’s is diminished and robbed of their past and their future. But new art therapy programs can help patients find a new way to communicate emotions and ideas. This can give the patient a better quality of life within the residential facility they live in. The different forms of stimuli help people connect to memories and past experiences.
Why Art Therapy Can work
Why does art therapy work? This type of therapy works because the professional leading the sessions has the training and experience to create a special environment for an individual or a group. This is a safe environment where there is no wrong or right for the art created. The person making the art has no limits or rules to remember and follow. They use a variety of art materials such as paint, pencil, ceramic materials, collage materials, and more to make art and memories. The stimuli for art can include art materials, song, writing, and storytelling.
Each type of stimuli offers feedback and sensory experiences that connect the art maker to memories. The person making the art chooses the material and the style. A dog could be represented by a dash of color or a detailed drawing. It could also be traced, drawn, painted, shaped from a lump of clay, or be part of a song. Artistic talent is not required, and the object is not the creation of an art masterpiece.
Where is Art Therapy Practiced?
Art therapy works so well that they use it in many settings such as rehabilitation centers, crisis centers, schools, mental health facilities, and nursing homes for senior citizens with memory or dementia issues. It is used in many community facilities that try to promote growth, health, and wellness. It is also used in the private practices of medical professionals.
The Requirements For an Art Therapist
An accredited art therapist must have at least a master’s degree from an accredited educational institution. They must have post-graduate clinical experience supervised by a qualified mentor. They must be accredited by the ATCB and meet the required ethical and quality standards. They must be knowledgeable of all visual forms including drawing, painting, sculpture, etc. and the creative process. Art therapists must also be trained in psychology, human development, counseling theories, and methodology.
4 Benefits of Art Therapy
The benefits of art therapy include:
- Stimulation of sensory experiences while interacting with the art materials
- Patients get a sense of purpose and dignity
- Patients exercise their fine-motor skills
- It offers an opportunity for socialization in a safe setting
Art therapy improves the quality of life for patients in assisted living facilities. Art therapy shows positive results in dealing with patient anxiety, depression, stress, aging and geriatric issues, chronic pain, eating disorders, cognitive impairments, and more. Patients can express feelings about difficult subjects in a safe way that does not involve speech.
Art therapy has additional benefits for dealing with pain, symptoms of cancer and asthma, and other health conditions. This type of therapy improves the quality of life of patients in a safe way. When used in conjunction with mental, physical, and environmental approaches, art therapy offers numerous benefits for many patients in senior care homes and other institutions. Art therapy success may be limited by the institution’s budget for materials and adult patients who may refuse to cooperate fully.