We are all aware that Alzheimer’s disease can dramatically impact the entire family. Perhaps one of the most frustrating scenarios often involves the fact that this debilitating condition robs the individual of the ability to express his or her thoughts (even if they may otherwise be physically healthy). While there is no doubt that medical science has come a long way in recent years, there are other approaches which can result in truly amazing results.
One common method involves the incorporation of art therapy into an existing care regimen. Why does practicing art provide beneficial effects for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease? Let’s take a look at what the latest research has to say to appreciate how art is truly the window to the soul.
Boosting Cognitive Functions
We need to remember that the brain functions like a muscle in many ways. Thus, regular exercise can help it to remain in shape even while enduring a chronic illness. Many studies have shown that artistic activities stimulate portions of the brain that might otherwise remain dormant. In a surprising number of cases, this can lead to improvements in socialisation, communication and cognitive functioning.
Birds of a Feather
It is important to further stress the concept of socialisation that was touched upon in the previous paragraph. Art-related activities (such as pottery or painting classes) are normally performed within a group environment. This provides those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and standard dementia with the ability to interact with others. Such mental stimulation can have additionally beneficial effects and it may help to stave off emotional troubles such as loneliness or even depression.
Creating a Sense of Self-Worth
Alzheimer’s disease is often thought of as a particularly cruel illness due to its ability to rob individuals of their self-esteem. They may feel as if they have “let down” others or that they are an embarrassment to themselves. Thus, it is crucial to provide a means to regain confidence. Performing any type of creative activity will enhance feelings of self-worth and help to restore a more positive mental balance.
Improved Motor Skills
Art therapy can likewise be very useful for those who might be experiencing a decline in their motor skills as a result of progressive Alzheimer’s disease. Indeed, scholarly articles have shown that even the simplest of movements can help to improve fine motor skills and tactile movements (such as holding a brush or shaping a piece of clay). This obviously provides both mental and physical benefits to the sufferer in question.
We can now see why it is exceedingly crucial to choose a supervised living facility that offers art therapy as a portion of their ongoing activities. The team at Eastleigh Dementia Care Homes in Devon is pleased to provide a host of stimulating solutions to all of our patients. If you wish to learn more about the relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and art therapy, please take a few moments to contact one of our specialists.