Art therapy is a creative way for older adults to manage pain and stress and feelings of loneliness and isolation. Therapeutic art experiences can also support and improve cognitive function. It is a valuable and fulfilling activity to help those who have Alzheimer’s or dementia as it may increase the quality of life and provide a means of expression that they might not otherwise have.
Research has connected art therapy to decreased rates of loneliness, improving mental health outcomes and reducing the feeling of isolation in older adults. While studies have also found that seniors who do art have overall better physical health and improved hand dexterity and hand-eye coordination as art is a naturally relaxing activity. The simple exercise involved in creating artwork improves pain management and dexterity for conditions such as arthritis, helping to reduce stiffness and inflammation and often an improved range of motion in the hands and fingers.
This light physical activity, if consistently undertaken, helps promote better blood flow and range of movement. These small movements increase coordination and improve pain management by taking the mind off the pain as the focus moves to creating the artwork.