Dementia, along with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms, presents challenges that our Sacramento Elder Law attorneys have observed as more Americans are living longer, requiring individuals and their families to confront these difficulties. Caring for a loved one who has serious memory, comprehension, and communication struggles presents many difficulties.
Fortunately, there is growing evidence that arts-based therapies can be of enormous benefit to people who have dementia. Both making and engaging with art can help those who are in cognitive decline feel more connected, happier, and healthier.
Connecting with the World with Dementia
Often, one of the unfortunate consequences of dementia is that it can make people feel isolated as they struggle to communicate and understand abstract thinking. Creating art, especially in a group environment, has a powerful way of bringing people together. Sharing and receiving paintings, drawings, or clay sculptures can give people with dementia a way of interacting with people around them in a non-verbal way.
A Vehicle for Self-Expression
Much of the frustration that people with dementia experience comes from their loss of the ability to communicate verbally. Making art can give them a new means of expressing themselves. Even when dementia patients lose the ability to form words, they are still capable of taking in information. Creating visual art provides them with a joyful way of demonstrating that they are still processing what is going on around them.
Creating New Memories
When someone with dementia creates a piece of art, they are creating a physical form for the feelings, stories, and experiences that are living within them at that moment. At later points, they can often remember that they made the artwork themselves, which can give them a sense of pride and excitement.
Often, the anxiety or agitation that comes along with Alzheimer’s disease can lead doctors to prescribe medication that can leave the person with less energy and engagement with the world. For many people, creating art can be a helpful alternative because it can soothe their anxiety and help them feel more engaged at the same time. Sometimes, the focus that they find while making art can last throughout the day.
Making art can help people manage the many complex emotions that come along with dementia by offering them a realm in which they can feel empowered to make their own choices. Whether it is about which type or color of paint to use or which subject they wish to draw, much of the art-making process is about making choices. When people are empowered to make decisions for themselves, they can feel more in control, which helps with a sense of self-confidence.
Contact a Sacramento Elder Law Attorney
Arts-based therapies are one of several means of caring for elderly people with memory loss and dementia. It can be overwhelming to try to keep up with the available options, and it is sometimes difficult to know what might work best for your loved one. Speaking with an experienced Sacramento elder law attorney can provide you with a wealth of information about what care options you and your loved one have, along with the personalized attention you need to optimize your decision-making process. If you need assistance getting started, contact us at (800) 244-8814 and we’ll be happy to meet with you and your family at our Sacramento law firm or at one of our many other offices located throughout the state of California.