We have known for quite awhile that creating is good for our health. Drawing and painting, knitting, playing an instrument – all of these keep our brain cells healthy. Creating art can help us to focus and keep our minds active.
Art therapy has been used to help those with dementia. It has proven itself as a way for those with chronic illnesses to connect with others. Various municipalities, schools, senior’s centres and hospitals host art programmes for seniors.
How does art help us age well?
- It is beneficial for both those who create it and those who view it. It can affect us in a positive way, it helps with increasing the quality of our lives and in general, just makes us feel good!
- Art programs have been introduced to help those with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinsons’s disease and many other chronic degenerative diseases. It has been shown to help with anxiety and depression which is common with many illnesses.
- Art gives seniors an activity that provides meaning and purpose.
- Making any type of art has been shown to improve cognitive function. Learning something new creates new neural pathways in the brain. We’ve learned that even though a brain may be aging it can still be creative. Creating restructures the brain and helps it to become more adaptive.
- Art therapy has been used to help those who have survived traumatic experiences. It helps with self awareness and also teaches us to focus.
There are many types of art that may be of interest to seniors. Painting, drawing or working with cloth or yarn may be good ideas. Seniors with chronic illnesses or chronic pain find that repetitive movements can be soothing. There are seniors who learn to play new instruments or take up where they left off with an instrument they once played long ago. Seniors have also been known to write fabulous poetry and stories, as their favorite form of art.
What type of art should you do? Take this fun quiz to give you ideas on where to start.