← Back to Blog

How Creating Art Helps People with Dementia Communicate

senior using art therapy for dementia

As dementia progresses, it slowly diminishes abilities and eventually prevents your loved one from verbally communicating with you and the rest of the world. But research shows art classes for dementia patients can provide a key way for dementia patients to express themselves. That’s because creating art engages a different region of the brain than the one we use for language. 

The benefits of art therapy.

Even after people with dementia lose their verbal communication skills, art therapy can allow them to convey their thoughts and feelings. With help from trained facilitators, even those who haven’t shown any artistic ability in the past may find an outlet. And those who have been artistic can find comfort in returning to a skill. 

Even the different textures and feeling of art materials can help evoke an emotional response in seniors with dementia. By incorporating a wide variety of materials — like papers of various textures and colors, beads, fabric and ribbons – into an art therapy session, they have an opportunity to further explore and connect with the world around them.

Through their artistic expression, color, texture, line, shape and form start to make up their pictorial language. This alternative language can become a powerful way to support the abilities and qualities of your loved one; enable them to share their life experiences and wisdom; and give them an enhanced ability to solve nuanced problems. 

This outlet also allows art therapy for Alzheimer’s patients to significantly reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness. By connecting with people who have dementia through their art, and other small, nuanced forms of nonverbal communication, it’s possible to build relationships, foster empathy, lessen anxiety, and develop a sense of mastery or control over their surroundings. It can also help them recall past events and relive memories.

Memory care at The Woodlands at Furman.

As a Life Plan Community offering a full continuum of on-site care, The Woodlands at Furman is focused on caring for seniors at every stage and every age. If the time comes when you or your loved one needs a higher level of care, including memory care, we see them as more than just their illness. They’re wonderful people with a rich life full of interesting stories and experiences.

That’s why we take a holistic approach to their care by getting to know your loved one and developing a specific plan for them. All memory care residents have familiar schedules and meaningful activities in a secure, homelike environment. We also provide choices that help them retain and restore independence, and we facilitate family involvement through care planning and visits.

An important part of our whole-person philosophy is nurturing self-esteem and dignity. In addition to personalized care, our uniquely trained staff helps residents engage in memory care activities, including:

  • Music performances 
  • Lunch outings 
  • Group exercise and dance classes
  • Social activities
  • Art projects in our art studio

Each of our memory care residences features a private suite with a bathroom and residents are encouraged to bring their own furniture and decor so they can create a familiar and comforting environment. Plus we feature common areas with a country kitchen, nurses station and access to a secure courtyard, 

If you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, it can be hard to know where to turn or what to do. But you’re not alone. At The Woodlands at Furman, we’ve helped hundreds of families just like yours create a customized plan for dealing with an uncertain future. To learn more about our memory care philosophy and programs or to set up a time to tour our community, contact us here