With no cure in sight, the families of Alzheimer’s sufferers must find ways to delay the loss of memories and function. Many are turning to art therapy to hopefully give back what the disease has taken away. Participating in art therapy classes can stimulate the brain and senses to trigger dormant memories and encourage conversation.
Here are some additional benefits of art therapy:
A New Language and Accomplishment
Typically, Alzheimer’s makes verbal communication difficult and many lose the ability to speak, but by creating art can become a new form of expression and language to sufferers. Most importantly, participants in art therapy have the freedom to express anything they choose and this control and independence can be empowering. Partaking in an activity such as creating art also establishes a new sense of accomplishment and competency.
Decreasing Anxiety and Isolation
Depression and anxiety are one of the many difficult symptoms of Alzheimer’s, but drawing, painting, and other arts are known to reduce stress and elevate the mood of the creator by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is an important chemical in the brain known to contribute to feelings of well-being and happiness. Low serotonin levels have actually been linked to depression.
Additionally, art therapy encourages human interaction. Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s can be a lonely process, however sessions are done in groups and people with similarities can meet each other. Socializing with others can also reduce stress and improve the quality of life for a sufferer.
While art therapy cannot cure Alzheimer’s, it can stimulate the brain in a new direction. The creative process and joy that art brings can make all the difference in the life of a loved one who is progressively on a decline.