Art therapy can be a powerful tool for treating someone living with dementia. More than just giving the person something pretty to look at, art therapy stimulates the brain, stirs memories and helps people express themselves when they have problems communicating.

Other benefits include:

  • Improving the mood of the person with dementia, reducing depression and anxiety.
  • Improved relationships. Art therapy allows the person with dementia to share their creativity through their artwork, enhancing their communication with other people. People with dementia often have problems communicating verbally with others, so producing art gives them the opportunity to express themselves non-verbally.
  • Helping the person with dementia become more patient, as when they’re engaging in producing art, they forget about aches, pains and other things that usually bother them.
  • Improving the concentration and attention span of the person.

How does art therapy work on a person with dementia’s brain?

Scientists have found that dementia is the result of amyloid protein deposits in the brain’s nerve cells. These plaques spread through the cortexes as the disease progresses, slowing the mind and inhibiting critical neurological processes associated with memory and cognition. Art therapy helps the brain bypass some of the problems of the part of the brain affected by dementia, as art and music seem to draw from many different regions of the brain. For example, a person with dementia who is finding it difficult to talk can bypass their verbal problems and express themselves in a different way.

Tips for using art therapy with those with dementia:

Art therapy can be as simple as helping the person living with dementia to create a drawing. Things to bear in mind:

  • Be careful not to use anything that would be harmful if eaten.
  • Use materials that strongly stimulate the senses, like bright colours and varying textures.
  • Talk with the person while they are doing the artwork. Discuss the project and ask questions that might evoke old memories.
  • Use the activity to build morale by complimenting them on how beautiful their art work is.

For more information on individualised care therapy program or any of our other services, please call us at 01915 801 690 or email us at athome@carevisions.co.uk