Despite all of the clinical studies and ongoing research in the field, there is still no cure for Memory Loss.
To help those living with Memory Loss, however, art therapy has become a proven rehabilitation technique that is performed in a safe and judgment-free space. The goal of art therapy is to improve the physical, mental, and emotional health of those living with Memory Loss. Communication, or the loss of it, is a major characteristic many people living with Memory Loss struggle with. Art is a perfect way to express what words cannot.
Art therapy is a specialized field focusing on stimulating expression through the medium of art. This can include, but is not limited to, drawing, sketching, painting, colouring, doodling, and sculpting. By initiating this type of self-expression, those living with Memory Loss are able to better manage stress and anxiety, explore emotions, and become more aware of their skills.
Benefits of Art Therapy for Dementia
With a properly organized art and Memory Care program, a person living with Memory Loss may attain a sense of purpose through expression with art. Art therapy for Memory Loss does not require great works of art or masterpieces. The goal is self-inspiration and self-motivation. Below are some of the major benefits of art therapy.
Increases Brain Stimulation
Those living with Memory Loss require constant stimulation to maintain a healthy mind and body. Art therapy can help a person living with Memory Loss recall memories, both short-term and long-term, as well as help them to increase focus and concentration on the task at hand.
Art therapy can also lower a person’s cortisol levels, which are responsible for controlling fear, mood, and motivation. When art techniques can capture the attention of a person living with Memory Loss, they can help them better process their emotions while improving their ability to communicate.
Art entails various forms of expression through drawings, paintings, photographs, sculptures, literature, dance, and other creative outlets. With Memory Loss, art can become a form of communication and a way to sharpen memory recollection skills.
The act of drawing a picture allows the brain to form a picture and use fine motor skills to recreate that image on paper. Painting and sculpting have the same effect, and both can be used to help people living with memory loss express emotion.
Helps with Daily Functioning
Art therapy can play a role in the improvement of mobility issues. The brain’s parietal lobe region controls the fine motor skills. Through art, both the physical and cognitive functions are used to stimulate coordination through the use of fine and gross motor skills.
Engaging in even the smallest movements of the arms and hands through art can help those living with Memory Loss. In addition to stimulating the brain to focus on the art process, this form of therapy helps to reduce pain and discomfort.
As art therapy is an outlet for creative expression, it can help boost a person’s mood overall. Those living with Memory Loss may not be able to “voice” their inner thoughts or describe the times when they feel lonely or sad. Art can do this for them.
It is a well-known fact that when a person looks at a form of art, whether it’s a painting or sculpture, the brain releases dopamine. This is a hormone and neurotransmitter responsible for movement, motivation, and memory. Enhancing a person’s mood with art therapy can help improve their physical and cognitive abilities.
Art Therapy Provided at Memory & Company
The caring Team Members at Memory & Company understand how art therapy helps with Memory Loss. Working hands-on with our Members, we customize all activities, particularly art therapy, to support their cognitive health.
Memory & Company has partnered with the teams at Baycrest Health Sciences and the Art Galley of Ontario (AGO) to develop of an art therapy app for smartphones and tablets. This project provides users with virtual access to certain pieces of art to stimulate the brain and engage communication.
Baycrest Health Sciences is a teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto. Baycrest is an industry leader in the study of neuroscience and memory research for seniors.
Can Art Therapy Be Done at Home?
Art therapy is designed to be done under the supervision of a certified art therapist as each program is customized to the person living with Memory Loss. That being said, art therapy for Memory Loss can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere. For structured Day Programs, basic art therapy can be done in the comfort of the person’s home.
Depending on the capability and interest of the person living with Memory Loss, creative activities such as the use of colouring books, puzzles, and painting can be set up. Using photographs of past experiences, family, and friends to create a collage is another form of art therapy that can be successful. Any form of art therapy can help to stimulate the brain wave patterns, nervous system, and emotions.
Memory & Company’s Respite Hotel Services
At Memory & Company, our Respite Hotel services provide a safe and guilt-free stay for those living with Memory Loss. Stays include daily access to our Premium Day Program with cognitive and physical fitness activities, socialization, personalized programming, and therapies of pet, art, and music.
With short-term and long-term accommodations, the rooms are furnished private suites with a two-piece washroom, daily housekeeping and laundry services, and 24-hour nursing care. Medication management, bathing assistance, meals, and basic care packages are included.
We invite you to book a tour and have a discussion with our friendly Team Members to see how our Respite Hotel and Premium Day Program can help enhance your daily living, as well as your loved one living with Memory Loss.
Victor Kwong is the Founder, Co-Owner, and Director of Innovation & Technology at Memory & Company. He has a background in teaching and policing, and currently works as a spokesperson, Public and Media Relations Officer for a metropolitan police department. Victor is passionate about working with seniors and maintaining human interaction. He is also the recipient of an award for rescuing seniors from a fire at a long-term care facility and the recipient of a life-saving award for resuscitating a passenger and coordinating the subsequent emergency landing of an international flight.