Creating art is an important part of expression. Through arts and crafts we are able to make sense of the world around and explore our inner thoughts and emotions. Creativity has a number of health benefits and research shows that engaging in creative arts helps to improve the life of those with dementia.
Here are a few of the many benefits the creative process provides seniors with memory impairment:
Reduced agitation and anxiety: Dementia is often accompanied by anxiety and agitation. When an adult with a memory impairment participates in creative expression, it helps to shift their focus which in turn lowers their anxiety and agitation. With a decrease in agitation and anxiety, comes an increase in mood.
Sense of accomplishment: Short-term memory loss is common among seniors with dementia. This can make it difficult to stay on task and complete activities. Engaging in an art or craft project can be empowering because it is the actual process of creating, rather than the actual finished project, that provides a sense of accomplishment.
Opportunity for self-expression: Dementia can impact different areas of the brain. This can sometimes affect their ability to communicate effectively. Art gives people the opportunity to express themselves and to say things that they wouldn’t be able to say otherwise.
A chance to socialize: Depending on what stage of dementia a person is experiencing, they may be able to participate in art classes. That might be classes within the community, classes you create for them at home, or classes they attend at an assisted living community. This gives the senior an opportunity to socialize with people who can relate to them.
Easy Art Projects for Adults with Dementia
If you are looking for a few creative art projects for a senior loved one, here is a list of ideas that you can try:
Adult coloring books: Coloring is an easy task that promotes relaxation. You can purchase these, along with colored pencils, at bookstores and craft stores, as well as, Amazon, Target, and Walmart. You may be able to also find some printable ones online. Simple designs that are larger and easier to see are best.
Sharpie mug craft: Use oil-based Sharpie paint markers to personalize a dollar store coffee mug. You can check out the complete ‘how to’ here.
Handmade note cards: Create paper shapes with paper punches and colorful cardstock. Even if you don’t have a ton of paper punches, just a few can go a long way. Use them to make cards for various occasions.
Paint with Q-tips: Grab some Q-tips and paint and get to work! You can find stencils at any craft store that will help to make a really cool picture or you can utilize Youtube to come up with fun and creative ways to use the Q-tips.
Create DIY fridge magnets: This is a fail proof craft and gives beautiful results. You can get the full ‘how to’ here.
It may be a trial and error process to determine what kinds of crafts your senior will love and enjoy. Give these a try and let us know how it goes!