“When considering the treatment and management for individuals with dementia three areas need to be carefully evaluated: medical issues, psychiatric symptoms, and meaningful activities. Incorporating these three components into treatment plans offer optimal ways to attain quality of life for dementia patients.”
—From Enhancing the Quality of Life in Advanced Dementia. Volicer, L. & Bloom-Charette, L. (Eds.) (1999). Philadelphia: Brunner/Mazel.

Art and other expressive art activities serve as vital treatment modalities for older adults with dementias; these interventions can produce constructive changes, provide helpful transformations, and offer significant opportunities for socializing.

Though these changes and events may be short-lived they do, however, contribute over all to the quality of life of older adults.

In some cases when the patients are exposed to making art, and even viewing art, the changes and the memories appear longer lasting than the family and caregivers expected, lasting hours and some times even days after the creative experience.

Benefits of Art for Elders

Some of the benefits of engaging in creative activities with older adults are:

This list was composed and adapted from a variety of resources and readings as well as my professional experiences of working with older adults. It is by no means exhaustive.

“Activation of the senses can be a first step away from the Alzheimer’s patient’s imprisonment within the solitary confinement of the self. Using art materials can develop and give ‘play’ to all of the natural senses.”

—Linda Lee Goldman, M.E.D., ATR-BC

Author, Art Therapy with Older Adults