6 benefits of arts and crafts for those living with dementia

There is no cure for dementia, but there are many ways in which you can improve the life of a person living with the disease. One of the ways Crouched Friars supports those living with dementia is with arts and crafts.

Our residents take part in a variety of crafts and you can head over to our Facebook page if you’d like to see what we’ve been working on lately.

Arts have numerous benefits for those affected by dementia and projects such as painting, colouring and listening to music can all help make a huge difference. Here are some of the ways that arts and crafts can be beneficial to those with dementia.

Stimulates the brain

Art is relaxing for most people, and those with dementia are no exception. It can be a fun way to stimulate the brain, stirring memories and in some cases even encouraging speech.

Studies have proven that therapy of this kind enhances several parts of the brain, including those used for communication, brain function and social interaction in people with dementia.

Improves non-verbal communication

Art can be an additional means of expression, when speaking is otherwise difficult. People with dementia can sometimes speak, smile or laugh when they have previously been unable to.

It allows people to use their imagination and communicate in a different way, helping them to feel less alone and more connected with those around them.

Creates a sense of accomplishment and purpose

Completing a painting, some writing or a book can give people purpose and make them feel they have achieved something. Especially if it has been something they perhaps struggled with initially. Exercise is another way of achieving this sense of achievement, which you can read about in our blog about the benefits of exercising.

At Crouched Friars, we love to showcase a finished piece of work and to see the pride on people’s faces when something is complete.

Emotional and behavioural benefits

Music is instrumental in soothing and calming dementia patients, as it relieves stress and reduces anxiety. ‘Musical memories’ are some of the last to go as that area of the brain is less affected by dementia. Therefore, music can rouse feelings of nostalgia and can lift a depressive mind, making people feel less agitated.

It can relax, motivate or distract a person; remember that each person’s musical tastes are unique. If you know someone suffering with dementia, try playing music to them during a creative session. Create a playlist based on music that’s tailored specifically to them.

Increases feelings of connectivity

Art has the power to connect a person with dementia who was otherwise feeling isolated. This can be through taking part in art with others, or being able to express their feelings through a piece of art.

We like to watch films together at Crouched Friars, bringing the residents together with some comedy or light-hearted drama. It’s a great way to include people and results in the bonding of both residents and care staff.

Improves confidence

Taking part in arts can have a massive impact on a person’s confidence. All of the above benefits amalgamate to help someone who is suffering with dementia feel part of something and help them to communicate again.

Home manager, Paulina Eagle, said: “Crouched Friars use art therapy to help our residents relax and we find it helps to reduce agitation. We choose arts that everyone can enjoy and we always have a lot of fun doing them!

“It’s great to know there are so many benefits to our arts programme.”

For more help and advice on the benefits of arts, the Alzheimer’s Society has some great tips and advice. To find out more about our approach to care at Crouched Friars, visit our website or call 01206 572647.

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