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Why Are Arts And Crafts Good For Seniors With Dementia?

I’m sure you are trying to keep the visits with your elderly loved one easy and breezy.

But, depending on their stage of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, it’s possible that a lot of the conversations you try to initiate trail off due to their cognitive decline.

Arts and crafts can be a great way to continue making positive memories with your loved one and may even help their dementia.

Here are some benefits of craft projects for dementia patients.

Increases Cognitive Function

The group of diseases known as dementia robs a person of their judgment and memory and potentially other brain functions as well.

While dementia has no cure, restoring some brain function may be possible through creative arts and crafts.

So says a 2016 edition of the journal Chinese Nursing Research. The data determined that art therapy can improve cognitive function in dementia patients and potentially increase their communication abilities as well. 

Self-Expression

If you think it’s frustrating talking to a dementia patient, imagine how it is for them. They might want to communicate thoughts and feelings that they just can’t express. Arts and crafts are a great nonverbal means of self-expression.

Here’s more great info about How To Talk To A Parent With Dementia.

Gives Them Something To Do

Sitting idly by and watching TV does nothing for a dementia patient’s cognitive functioning. When they’re actively working on something that gives the person a sense of accomplishment – that’s when the brain benefits.

Arts and crafts can keep a senior busy for hours.

For more ideas, read our article about Keeping Seniors With Dementia or Alzheimer’s Busy.

What Type Of Art Is Best For Dementia Patients?

Arts and crafts encompass a variety of activities ranging from crocheting to painting to making decorative objects to sewing – and everything in between.

You don’t want to saddle your senior with an activity that’s outside of their wheelhouse. That might have you wondering what the best type of art for dementia patients is?

Here are some traits that the arts and crafts activities you recommend should possess.

Easy Crafts For Seniors With Limited Dexterity

Easy To Do

Maybe that 20-step arts and crafts project you found on Pinterest looks really cool, but after mulling it over, you’re thinking that it seems sort of complicated.

In this case, it’s probably not the best activity to suggest to your senior parent or loved one. Instead, gather some friends or younger family members and do the project with them.

In general, you’ll want to keep the projects you do with your senior as easy as possible. Simple designs with the fewer steps, the better.

Think more along the line of children’s projects than complex arts and crafts for adults declining cognitive abilities.

Not Physically Intensive

You have to remember that in addition to having dementia, the loved one in your life is elderly as well. Their body doesn’t have the abilities it once did.

Some arts and crafts (like sewing or crocheting) may be painful or difficult for an older adult. If so, skip those and concentrate on the ones that won’t physically bother them.

Self-Expressive 

We want to stress again the value of self-expression for dementia patients. If the project gives the senior a chance to showcase their feelings or points of view, then it’s a good one to sit down and do with them.

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