How Art Can Help Seniors With Cognitive Function
A study by the Mayo Clinic found that older individuals who engage in creative art activities are 45% less likely to suffer from cognitive issues. Brain stimulation from arts-related activities causes stronger pathways in a specific region of the brain called the default mode network. This area is where all cognitive processes are located such as introspection, self-monitoring, and memory according to research published by Plos.org. Stimulation, especially from the arts can give a better life for the aging adults in our lives, and NorthShore found an organization that believes this as well.
Who Said Art is Only For The Young?
NorthShore discovered a wonderful organization that is sparking creativity for seniors. COMPAS is a non-profit arts organization that promotes creativity with various forms of art. This organization offers Artful Aging,™ a program led by local artists of Saint Paul, Minnesota. Some of these activities include but are not limited to: songwriting, watercolor, mosaics, and weaving. The beauty of this program is that the artists bring experience to their participants. Whether the participants are in a facility or at home, the program can meet these individuals at accessible locations such as libraries, community centers, and other adult day centers. The program is such success and participants are enjoying the experience from the program.
"It was certainly the participants themselves who seemed most impressed and surprised by what they were able to accomplish.” — Gwenda, COMPAS Artful Aging Program Volunteer
The video below shows seniors during their "Make Yourself Heard" project using poetry, music, and movement to express themselves.
Are You Doing The Most For Your Loved One?
Think about what your loved one does during the day. Are they watching TV hours at a time? Are they engaging with others regularly? Are they able to express themselves? We all have busy lives, and while making art may not be the first priority right now, it may be something to incorporate with your loved one. Our elders don’t always know what is best for them, so it is our job to help as much as we can with the knowledge that we have.
You may want to start incorporating these type of activities with your loved one for a happier and fuller life. Think about getting the grandkids or other young members of the family involved with your aging elder. This bonding experience can only provide more unforgettable memories for the entire family.
If your loved one is in a facility there may be activities similar to the ones mentioned above. Assisted care facilities and retirement homes offer many different activities for their residents. Speak with an activities coordinator to see what art-related programs they offer their residents.
Of course, if you are in the Saint Paul area feel free to visit the COMPAS website for more information on their program.