What Is Art Therapy in Memory Care?
Through The Birches’ unique, Montessori-inspired approach, memory care residents grow from daily opportunities like exploring, creating, learning, and expressing themselves through an array of artistic media. They can paint, draw, sculpt, do crafts, and participate in special projects — at both scheduled, instructor-led sessions as well as free-form times throughout the day with friends.
In addition to using their previous skills and memories, our residents also create something they can bring back to their apartments and see daily, helping them feel more accomplished and at home.
Benefits of Memory Care
At The Birches, we strive to make every touchpoint impactful. So, we’ve integrated art therapy into residents’ daily experiences. This evidence-based approach aids recollection and enhances practical skills for people with dementia, thereby improving their quality of life. Art therapy is increasingly being used in the care of the aging, as it is extremely flexible to implement and opens up new avenues of expression for those struggling with cognitive and linguistic issues. More important, our residents in our memory care neighborhood enjoy themselves and have fun!
Longitudinal studies have shown that individuals in memory care facilities greatly benefit from such creative opportunities. By blending psychology, individualized attention, the use of motor skills, and simply their imaginations, we can help residents find new joys and purpose. People with dementia can also use art to communicate their thoughts and emotions, which can significantly help. These factors reduce frustrations and anxiety, bolster happiness, and improve mental well-being.
How Does Art Therapy Work with People Who Have Dementia?
Art therapy provides a very unique solution in memory care because it doesn’t require participants to express their thoughts in an ordered or linear way. Instead, it taps creative thinking, which typically can still be accessed and used long after cognitive processes or speaking skills decline. Individuals can explore visual, sensory, kinesthetic, and symbolic opportunities and uncover new communication methods.
They can also engage in the process with others, use their art projects to show their feelings or needs, display the art in their homes, or even create art as gifts for others. This provides a very positive outlet for their expression and ensures their ability to socialize and engage with friends, family, and caretakers.
Art therapy in senior care has been repeatedly studied, producing significant empirical evidence for its success. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently synthesized findings from more than 3,500 such published studies in a significant report.
For people with neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders, engaging with the arts has been found to improve:
- Mental health/happiness
- Physical function/motor skills
It is also a solid pathway for more personalized, holistic, integrated healthcare, which is proven to deliver better health outcomes.
Art therapy is just one of the ways we help our memory care residents feel respected and appreciated. And it’s part of our unique Montessori-inspired approach.
As the only Montessori-certified memory care facility in Illinois, The Birches offers an environment where residents can live their best lives. Contact us today at (630) 789-1135 to learn more, or fill out this form to schedule a private tour, and see how The Birches can make a difference.