Art is a two-edged sword. It heals both the creator and viewer. Our history has well-witnessed what great art forms can do and mean to any society. It is a universal human experience! No one teaches anyone to respond to an expressive art form, it’s in our nature. A great piece of art never fails to heal, attract, influence, and has the power to make a human out of a person
For now, we just focus on the ‘healing’ part of it. Mankind relies on art to get through difficult times. Need proof? Ask a teenager who had a first breakup. The first thing he or she would probably do is put on a pair of headsets and drown in the music of their choice.
What about a senior citizen? A senior faces more challenges than a petty breakup. In that case, do these arts and crafts still be able to heal? Will they improve mental wellbeing and enhance the way seniors go about their activities of daily living? Stay with us until the end of the blog as we take on how expressive art therapy can help seniors and their physical and spiritual wellness.
What is expressive art therapy and how does it help?
It could be dance, music, visual arts, or any creative outlets that make a person feel, move, or allow them to reflect or express. It’s a multimodal approach to art. The prefix ‘expressive’ before the term ‘art’ refers to various art forms and their combinations.
In a senior’s context, most art therapy forms include dance with slow movements, painting, drawing, writing, and music. The effective use of these forms facilitate healing both physically and mentally.
According to a journal published on BMC, expressive art therapy helps seniors with their cognitive functions and another journal suggests that it also improves movement and coordination. Seniors who are receptive will see great benefits that are beyond medical belief through skillful expressive art therapy.
What are the types of expressive art therapy?
As stated earlier, it is a multimodal therapy and includes various art forms. However, there are single modals recommended based on a therapist’s recommendation. The therapist follows a scheduled approach for better results. A senior can also choose the art forms they are interested in. Here are the four mainstream therapy approaches for seniors.
- Dance Therapy for Seniors: Goes well with seniors with good mobility. A little bit of physical movement and dancing combined with music, help seniors deal with their stress, anxiety and even depression. Examples include simple dance steps, Zumba, and yoga for seniors.
- .Art Therapy for Seniors: It helps you deepen your connection with creativity. The therapist uses various forms of arts and crafts such as Finger painting, masking, sketching, collage making, and mosaic painting to improve elders’ hand-eye coordination and relieve stress.
- Music Therapy for Seniors: The senior is encouraged to listen to the music of their choice or even provided with help to create it. The benefits will be massive if the elder already knows how to play an instrument. A few examples for the therapy include songwriting, quotes creation, and improvising.
- Writing Therapy for Seniors: Be it writing a diary or maintaining a journal, writing is a blessing in life. It helps you easily keep track of your every deed and help the person become better day by day. The same applies to seniors who are undergoing this therapy. Apart from journals, seniors are also encouraged to try fiction writing, sketches, dramas and even filmmaking.
What are the benefits of art therapy for seniors?
Arts and crafts genuinely are the best choices to lower stress and anxiety, and everybody knows it. Here are a few benefits that might not be aware of.
- Deep healing – Expressive art therapy comes with a sense of deep healing for seniors. Art therapy has the ability to stir memories and reason with the negative emotions. Seniors often feel light at heart after undergoing continuous therapy sessions that are focused on deep healing.
- Self-exploration: The term ‘retirement’ induces a sense of lost purpose in life. Even though this is not true, many seniors tend to believe it. Art therapy could be the medium for those seniors to explore the other dimensions of life that they left for sake of career and responsibilities.
- Clarity and focus – Forgetfulness, confusion and lack clarity over things in life remain the usual challenges of a senior. With art therapy, they can enhance their sense of perceiving the aspects of life with much clarity and make informed decisions.
Before you go…
Expressive art therapy is immensely beneficial for seniors, there is no doubt about it! However, they are as effective as the senior’s ability to be receptive. Remember that these sessions are to promote healing and wellness, and not to enhance your skill. Enjoy the experience rather than thinking of your progress in learning an art form.
If you want to experience art or music therapy for seniors, visit Athulya Assisted Living in Chennai. Our weekly sessions might help you get a taste of the whole experience of overall wellness!