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 The Beeches supports those living with dementia is with arts and crafts.

We’ve been making bird feeders, poppies and have carved Halloween pumpkins in the past couple of weeks! If you’d like to take a look at some of our arts projects lately, head over to our Facebook page.

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. You can read another of our blogs for more information on how we specialise in dementia care here, but today we’re talking about 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 The Beeches, 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 creating a playlist based on music that’s special 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 The Beeches, 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.

The Beeches is lucky to have two fantastic activities coordinators, Mel and Lisa. They said: “The staff at The Beeches use art therapy regularly to help our residents relax and to reduce anxiety and agitation. We’ve implemented a variety of different craft days and we try to vary them as much as possible so there’s something that appeals to every resident.

“The staff enjoy it just as much as the residents and there’s always a lot of laughter!”

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 The Beeches, visit our website or call 01359 230773.

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