Art Therapy Benefits Aging Adults

Art therapy is a part of the mental health profession that allows patients to use artistic creation to heal physically and mentally. Guided by licensed and trained art therapists, elderly adults can use different mediums to achieve a number of benefits. Besides developing a new hobby, art therapy allows patients to explore their feelings on any number of issues they may be facing when words just aren’t enough to facilitate the healing they need.

Seniors living with any number of issues and ailments can benefit from serious art therapy. It usually consists of sketching, drawing, painting or sculpting, as well as other art-related activities. The settings can be one on one with the therapist or in a group setting with a more social vibe. No matter how elderly adults get involved, they will definitely benefit from art therapy. Family caregivers should look into what it would take or their elderly relative to start therapy sessions in their area.

Here are just three areas where many elderly people and their caregivers realize the benefits of art therapy:

Pain Management
Many seniors live with chronic pain from disorders such as arthritis, neuropathy, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, neuropathy and more. The physical activity required in art therapy may help alleviate certain types of pain. For example, using fingers, arms and hands increases circulation to these extremities, and improve dexterity and flexibility in those areas.

Art therapy may not stop chronic pain, but it may help seniors relax and be able to manage it better. Combining art therapy with prescription medications, exercise and other pain-management techniques can improve an elderly person’s quality of life. Creating art is also inherently relaxing, and may ease emotional pain that might be triggering physical pain, like headaches.

Stress Reduction
As people age, they can take upon themselves an enormous amount of stress. Triggers include grief and loss, chronic illnesses, loss of independence, loneliness, depression, anxiety and more. Not only is art therapy a proactive way to combat stress, it allows elderly adults to express feelings like anxiety and anger in new and deep ways. Instead of keeping deep feelings bottled up, art therapy allows patients to let it out. Working with a therapist can further help seniors deal with a lot of stress and emotional pain.

Improved Cognitive Abilities
For elderly adults that are facing the early onset of memory loss conditions, experts say that they should engage in focused activities that create new neural pathways. Art therapy is an excellent way to challenge the brain and unlock new creative avenues. Boosting cognitive abilities can slow down the process and provide ways for seniors to communicate when words fail them.

Most family caregivers and their elderly relatives that engage in art therapy find that the creative process is a wonderful way to deal with the ups and downs of growing older. Physical and mental challenges can be handled better when the elderly adult is involved in making art. Art therapy is both healing and helpful to seniors under a wide variety of circumstances.


If you or an aging loved one are considering caregivers in Papillion, NE, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors® Greater Omaha at (402) 215-0308 today.

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