Creative Therapies Improve Seniors Well-being
Creative alternative therapies such as music and art can improve the emotional, physical, and cognitive well-being of seniors.
Photo by Eddie Klaus on Unsplash
When caring for an elderly loved one, a lot of thought goes into ensuring their physical needs are cared for. Arranging medical visits, monitoring medications, and helping with physical and mental exercises prescribed by healthcare professionals, all in pursuit of maximizing and maintaining the health of the seniors we care about.
While these medically focused activities are necessary, many other forms of non-medical and creative therapies have a meaningful impact on seniors’ well-being.
Alternative and Creative Therapies
Creative therapies involving art, music, games, animals, and other hobby related activities can yield enormous benefits for seniors.
Some of the popular ones are art-based, such as those involving music and visual art.
Music Therapy engages all facets of their being. Listening to or being part of music creation can awaken emotional, mental, spiritual, social, and physical aspects of identity. It creates an opportunity for seniors to interact with themselves and with others in new ways.
The Alzheimer Society of Waterloo-Wellington has an "iPod Project" for seniors that does all these things.
Ways music therapy promotes physical and mental health –
- Renewing Special Memories: Music can transport us back to another time or place, and one seemingly simple sequence of notes can evoke a powerful memory. Music can be an incredible tool for seniors with memory problems.
- Promoting Happiness: The tone of a particular song can fill a room with emotion and affect people’s moods. Playing an upbeat, cheerful tune can turn a frown upside-down or clear the clouds from a challenging day.
- Managing Anxieties: A calming or relaxing song or listening to any song that can be distracting can help seniors to get through moments of nervousness or anxiety.
- Encouraging Movement: Regardless of the level of physical activity that your loved one can manage, there is some way they can move to the music. Whether it be a full-on dance break, or some tame foot-tapping, getting seniors to move in any capacity is beneficial for relieving tension, lowering blood pressure, and stimulating the body.
This is a beautiful video on the power of music for seniors.
Music Therapy for Seniors
Art Therapy for Seniors
Art Therapy involves the purposeful use of art as a means for expression and development, particularly for those facing challenges or changes within the context of their lives. Therapy and artistic expression work together to help to manage things such as:
- Diseases and Health Conditions
The benefits and positive outcomes of art therapy are numerous, and making use of the creative outlet of visual art as a means of expression can contribute to:
- Strengthening Cognitive and Physical Abilities: Art therapy strengthens cognitive and physical abilities by making art and can reap the positive emotional benefit of feeling pride in creating something.
- Create Enriching Experiences: Art Therapy for seniors involves materials and crafts suited to their abilities to remain an enriching experience. Seniors feel pride in their accomplishments.
- Promoting Calm: Artistic expression is fulfilling in the long run; it can also be calming at the moment, as seniors have a context in which there is something to focus on and distract from any other stressful or painful realities of day-to-day life.
Explore What’s Out There
Music and art are just two of the many forms of creative alternative therapies available to seniors in most areas. By exploring the various options that exist, you will surely be able to find something that can contribute positively to the health and well-being of your loved one that is not based solely on medicine.
Engaging with creative or unique outlets of expression and exploration can be incredibly meaningful for seniors. Impacting how they feel can extend to many areas of their lives, including how they see themselves and how they interact with others in a broader context.
Check local community centres for creative alternative senior programs: