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Five Ways Art Classes Benefit Seniors

November 26, 2019

Art classes like those held by The Allure Group have a profound impact upon seniors, as those in other settings have also discovered. Consider a woman named Denise McGill, who conducted such courses in Fresno, Calif., from 1998 to 2012.

She wrote in one blog post that she came to love her seniors, and the way art gave them new life:

(Some) came because they had lost a beloved spouse and their children were afraid they had given up. This happened with a dozen or more of the 100 seniors who came to my classes each week. Coming to the center and painting once a week gave them a reason to get up and get dressed. One year, a sweet lady’s 8 children came and gave me a cake. They surrounded me and each thanked me for saving their mother’s life. They were sure after their father had passed that she had given up and there would soon be another funeral. But when she started painting with me she developed a renewed interest in life, and they said she wouldn’t miss my class for anything. They had me in tears.

Here are the many ways in which art classes benefit seniors: 

By Stimulating The Brain

Art stimulates the mind. That’s as true for seniors as those in other age groups. Art often requires its proponents and adherents to ponder abstract concepts and appreciate individuals who employ out-of-the-box thinking and methods. In fact, researchers have found that seniors who participate in art programs often improve cognitive functions like memory and focus. It is also believed that participation in art classes can reduce the incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.

By Improving Motor Skills

Disciplines such as sculpting, painting or drawing enable seniors to improve upon motor skills like hand-eye coordination while also honing hand strength and sight, all of which might have diminished over time.

By Enhancing Mental Health

Art can give seniors a renewed sense of purpose. One blog post mentioned a woman who contracted an art therapist to work with her 91-year-old mother, who was afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. The transformation was dramatic, as the sessions allowed her to express herself creatively while sharing quality time with another person. She regained her sense of humor, the daughter said, and her four paintings became a value keepsake after her death.

By Providing Opportunities To Socialize

Isolation is a very real problem among seniors, who see friends pass away and might live far away from their siblings and adult children. Some 25 percent of those over the age of 65 deal with isolation, and studies have shown that those who do so are at an increased risk of high blood pressure, dementia and malnutrition.

Art classes provide them with an opportunity to make connections

By Offering an Opportunity for Self-Expression

For seniors who might not be able to express themselves, whether by speech or through writing, as in their younger years, art offers an opportunity to communicate in a new and different way. Consider an elderly gentleman, afflicted with Parkinson’s disease, who created a collage by gluing small pieces of construction paper onto a bigger sheet. He entitled his creation “A Scattered, Shattered Life.” The other seniors in his daycare center knew exactly what he was trying to convey.

Categories: General