Saturday, June 13, 2020

Art Therapy, in Dementia & Alzheimers

The peace that painting brings to our souls is just incredible. There is a lot of information about Art Therapy for the Memory Care field do your research. This is what I tried and still works for me. I always set up space beforehand.  A nice, airy, quiet, space would be ideal. Adding relaxing music is an extra added perk. YouTube has those channels where you see all these tranquil landscapes paired with soothing music. if you have a smart t.v. you can totally do this. or you might be able to mirror the image from your phone to the t.v. I just got geeky!

Not necessarily using crayons. colored pens, gel pens fine tip markers using any of those tools available is great. Always keep in mind the person's abilities to make it an enjoyable moment. Oh wow, that sounds very professional of me.. LOL, well after all I'm the one that trains the staff. In all seriousness, I love Art Therapy, I love the peace that can bring with it, the surprises that are found when one is open to new things. In my past job, if you don't know this, I was the Actitiives director & staff supervisor in a Day Care Setting for a program that caters to people with Memory Impairments. 

Why am I such a great fan? because I saw with my own eyes the many, many, and I do mean many positive effects that it brings to people affected by Dementia and Alzheimers. I would witness it mainly with some of our male participants. Most of the time when presented with the idea of Art, automatically their response would be "I'm not coloring, do you know how old I am?"  my response was always, "give it a try, let's see what happens" more often than not, the result was they loved being part of the class.

I will never forget when one of our participants was extremely reluctant to try Art Therapy. He said, " please don't be upset with me if it doesn't come out good." my reply, "no, I won't" the result? with the guidance of the art teacher, he painted a wonderful giraffe, I asked his permission to post it in a prominent area. Whenever he sat down to have a cup of coffee he would see his masterpiece. he was so proud of himself, of his accomplishment. Whenever we had people visit, if he had a chance to talk to them he would point out his Art piece and say "I painted that" with a huge smile on his face.

Just like him, we had a lot of similar stories, where they were reluctant at first to discover that they were good at it. The Art Therapy class would usually last 2 hours. Imagine that! quiet, serene, comfortable environment, that inspires you to get in touch with your Picasso or Georgia O'keefe. 

Yes, I do know not everybody likes Art and they will not get involved in anything that even resembles it. for that type os situation, we offered other activities.

I can't accurately describe the immense sense of satisfaction that it gave us all to provide them with an activity that brought so much peace to them and left them with a sense of pride and satisfaction. 

In November we would always put together an art show. We not only had paintings, but we also had jewelry made by our participants.

"Art in its many forms is the greatest way to express ourselves. It quiets the mind, keeping you focused."  Me.

Be Informed, Be Prepared, Be Empowered.

With Gratitude-