From March 20th-27th, we are celebrating National Creative Arts Therapy Week. Art therapy for individuals living with dementia provides a wide variety of benefits such as a creative outlet, stress relief, behavior management and a way for people to connect. A growing field, National Creative Arts Therapy Week seeks to raise awareness of an important intervention for those living with dementia.
Art therapy programs can be administered at home, in day programs, at residential care settings and even virtually. They can benefit individuals at any stage of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. They have the power to improve quality of life by reducing agitation and other neuropsychiatric symptoms through a non-pharmacological approach. People with dementia or memory loss may also find an outlet to communicate when verbal communication becomes a challenge. Art therapy can be implemented individually or in group settings. When in group settings, a sense of community can be built increasing an individual’s quality of life. The key to successful art therapy is to adjust to an individual’s needs at any given moment. The best part about these programs is that one doesn’t have to be an artist to benefit from art therapy!
Research shows that when people with dementia participate in art therapy programs, their caregivers also benefit. Caregiver burnout is frequently caused by challenging symptoms and agitation that people living with dementia may experience. By reducing these symptoms with art therapy, caregivers may experience an increase in caregiver endurance. Additionally, art therapy can often highlight the strengths of an individual living with dementia creating a meaningful connection with family members and other loved ones.
While art therapists are licensed professionals with the skills to adapt, assess and facilitate connections with their loved ones, there are ways to engage your loved one in art programming at home. This National Creative Arts Therapy Week, consider ways to increase your loved one’s creative engagement at home!
For more information on the power of art therapy, check out Dementia Spring’s interview with Erica Curcio, an art therapist who shared some of the benefits that she has seen through her experience. Check out all of our Featured Artists to learn more about the important work Erica and others are doing to bring hope and creativity to people with dementia!