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Creative Arts are Good for Senior ‘Brain Health’

creative arts at  wilf campusSeniors have more leisure time to explore hobbies and activities that interest them, and there are many avenues for seniors residing in Assisting Living if that passion happens to be for the creative arts. Engaging in the arts – whether it be visual arts like painting, photography, knitting or crafting; enjoying classical music; or perhaps dramatic acting or performing – creative arts of all kinds are a powerful form of a therapy for many seniors.

Engaging in the creative arts has been shown to make seniors feel more engaged, may improve mood and have an effect on overall health and well being, and has been shown to increase sociability.

And the creative arts are simply good for the brain. Everyone knows that staying physically fit is important to remaining healthy in later years, and we know that mental fitness is also crucial. But certain strategies are better than others. Aging experts now advise that seniors to exercise their “full brain.” Part of this process requires setting a goal and achieving it. Engaging in an arts project does just that – which makes it a total brain workout and an excellent option for senior (brain) health.

One of the best all-around exercises for older adults according to new research is doing theater. Participating in theater (much more so than visual art) saw nearly a 60 percent increase in problem-solving ability. Not inconsequential: theater is fun and social, so people stick with it – which explains why the improvement in problem solving ability was sustained in participating seniors.

The creative arts are also important for seniors with Alzheimer’s and related dementia care needs. Research suggests that participants in arts programs are more engaged and alert, better able to communicate, and in a better mood than before the activity. The arts can trigger memory, which allows those with Alzheimer’s to use their imagination. People with Alzheimer’s might not be very verbal, but that doesn’t mean they can’t express themselves. Art activities, facilitated by an adult child or caregiver in Assisted Living, help dementia sufferers open up using painting and other mediums to express themselves. Many people are quite surprised at the artistic abilities of people with dementia and the insights they are able to tap into given the right tools and activities.

If you would like to learn more about creative arts programs at Wilf Campus please contact us. We offer a range of arts activities and program including the “Thru Your Eyes” art program (primarily painting), the Wilf Campus Players (theatre ensemble) and a host of other clubs and groups for seniors who enjoy the arts.

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