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Art Therapy for Dementia Sufferers

Claudia GibsonBy Claudia Gibson, Lead Counselling Professional, Heather Hill Pathways.

In recent years a number of medical studies have looked closely at the benefits of involvement in creative activities, such as art and music therapy, for those suffering with dementia or other communication difficulties.  These studies have found a number of benefits associated with involvement in these creative therapies including a reduction in the rates of depression and feelings of isolation experienced by the participants.  These benefits are largely a result of the participants having real power of choice and decisions in this environment, for example when creating their artwork, and their ability to communicate their emotions where they have difficulties doing so using more traditional methods of communication.

Claudia Gibson, our leading counselling professional, and her team of experienced professionals are now providing art therapy sessions to assist the elderly, particularly those suffering from dementia and communication difficulties.  Their results have shown similar positive benefits for clients that have undertaken these sessions and have also often resulted in great benefits for their carers by developing another language in which the elderly client can communicate to their carers, that doesn’t rely on words or speech.

When discussing how these art therapy sessions are received by her clients Claudia said, “the words, the history and the joy that our elderly clients can share through this medium can often give them a very real moment of peace, happiness and stillness in their otherwise confused worlds“.

Sessions can be individual, small groups or even offered as an alternative activity for residents living in permanent residential care, particularly in dementia units.  Importantly both the client, their carers and (in the case of a residential care facility) the facility’s staff can benefit from the positive long term outcomes of these sessions.

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