Why Seniors Need Art and How Artistic Activity Helps Ward Off Cognitive Decline
Thursdays at the Alpine Nursing Home is known for Art with John. Many of our residents look forward to painting, drawing and arts and crafts on Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.
But did you know it can also help them to ward off cognitive decline?
What is Cognitive Decline?
Cognitive impairment is when a person has trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions that affect their everyday life. This impairment ranges from mild to severe. With mild impairment, people may notice changes in cognitive functions, but still be able to do their everyday activities.
Severe levels of impairment can lead to losing the ability to understand the meaning or importance of something and the ability to talk or write, resulting in the inability to live independently.
Why Seniors Need Art
The Mayo clinic did a study which featured 256 people in their mid to late 80’s to see which activities prolonged cognitive decline. Not only is being social with others on the top of the activity list but learning to use a computer later in life ranks up there too.
In this study, one thing stuck out and ranked even higher: It was “artistic activity,” such as painting, drawing, and sculpting.
The number of participants who reported they were artists was relatively small: 45 of the 265. As a group, they were significantly less likely to suffer from incidents of cognitive impairment than those who never touched an easel or a piano key.
But the other 18 who reported they took part in such activities both in midlife and later in life (as opposed to stopping in their senior years) did phenomenally well, with only three reporting incidents of mild cognitive impairment.
Art’s Effect on Elders Mind
Many seniors oftentimes may be bored and having an art project to work on can engage their mind and keep them busy. They may also enjoy seeing the end-result and knowing that they were able to complete it themselves.
Creating art can give them a greater sense of purpose which is often dwindling as many people age. This sense of personal growth often can be seen by the smiles on the face of residents when they complete an art project.
The residents also feel a sense of pride when they can make gifts and give their artwork to others to be enjoyed.
Several studies also have shown that art can reduce the depression and anxiety that are often symptomatic of chronic diseases. Other research demonstrates that the imagination and creativity of older adults can flourish in later life, helping them to realize unique, unlived potentials, even when suffering from Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.
Art Events Here at the Alpine Nursing Home
Many made art gifts for our annual Christmas bazaar. They spent countless hours working on arts and crafts to raise funds for our activities here at the Alpine Nursing Home. (See image at the top of this post.)
May is our annual Art Show and many residents will work months ahead to submit artwork for this annual show which takes place during Nursing Home week. So, our residents are working on art most of the year for these 2 events alone.
Inspire Your Heart with Art
January 31st is Inspire Your Heart With Art Day. Art can inspire a heart as pictures and images can invoke feelings from within. Oftentimes this images of art can make one feel happy. It can trigger the brain sensors like that of someone falling in love.
So families come on in and join our Art sessions on Thursdays with Art with John at 10:30 a.m. at the Alpine Nursing Home.