Activities programs are an important part of the services offered in assisted living facilities. One type of activity program is a therapeutic art class. This program will bring a skilled artist and all the necessary art supplies to the facility to make it possible for residents to express their inner artists. The artistic process for seniors can not only enhance their quality of life, but also gives them the opportunity to learn a new skill, which is especially beneficial for maintaining and even increasing cognitive functioning. The artistic process provides mental, physical, and spiritual stimulation for individuals through creative discovery and experimentation.
There is research that documents the benefits of art programming in assisted living facilities. This research shows that any kind of new learning experiences promote brain development while enhancing information processing and memory storage capabilities in mid-life and older adults. One study was conducted with 300 seniors – half were participants in an art program once a week, and the other half were not. The study followed the seniors for a two year period. The results of this study show that those who participated in an arts program had better overall health, while those who didn’t attend an art program experienced a decline in their health. The seniors in the arts programs used fewer medications, felt less depressed, were less lonely, had higher morale in general, and were more socially active than the other group of seniors in the study.
In the words of one art therapist who works with residents in senior communities, “Our therapeutic art program restores and maintains residents’ highest level of functionality, such as exercising their cognitive skills, dexterity and concentration as well as allowing for social opportunities and memory enhancement.” – Sherita Sparrow, ADPC, CDP
For more information on these and other services in assisted living facilities, go to A Caring Heart.