Tuesday Tips for Caregivers – Art Therapy Can Stimulate Conversation

Tuesday Tips for Caregivers – Art Therapy Can Stimulate Conversation

Tuesday Tips for Caregivers – Art Therapy Can Stimulate Conversation

Did you know that art therapy, whether done by a professional or by a caregiver in the home, and provide benefits to both the person with Alzheimer’s or dementia and the caregiver?

Art can stimulate conversation with a person in the early stages of the disease or provide a means of communication for someone in the mid to late stages.

The simple process of putting color on a page, drawing circles, squiggles or a masterpiece can be calming and, for some, may lessen their anxiety levels.  Just the unique smell of a box of crayons can bring back memories of childhood and spark conversation.  Non-toxic watercolors splash on to paper in ways that can be both fun and provide a release of tension.  Have you seen some photos of today’s “modern art”?  Some appear as no more than lines drawn on a paper or colors that run together.  These masterpieces hang in some of the world’s most famous galleries.

Art therapy doesn’t just have to be painting or coloring.  It can happen with something as simple as homemade modelling clay.  There are many recipes for easy, “edible” modelling clay which can be found on the internet.  Many patients love sinking their hands into the soft, squishy clay and the clay can be scented with cinnamon, vanilla or cocoa to provide the additional stimulation to a patient’s sense of smell. If a patient loved baking, creative art can happen with cookie dough and colored sprinkles or multiple colors of chocolate chips. Stickers, bingo dabbers and pictures cut out of magazines can provide a creative outlet that can produce some amazing art.

If you can, display the artwork.  It will provide visitors with a place to start a conversation and who doesn’t love a compliment on their accomplishments! And most of all, have fun!

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