“As people lose the ability to name, to conceptualise what things are, they are forced into much more visual ways of thinking about the world.”
–Dr Bruce Miller, Director UCSF Memory and Aging Center
The underlying premise of creative art therapies is that ‘creativity enhances the well-being of all people.’ Art therapists work therapeutically employing visual art techniques such as drawing, painting and sculpture, in order to support the emotional, cognitive, physical and spiritual well-being of individuals.
Art therapy has many benefits for people in aged care. It can allow the expression of complex thoughts and emotions, help to alleviate anxiety and depression, improve motor skills and cognitive functioning, and encourage socialising.
For example, for individuals with dementia the loss of language due to decline of the left side of the brain can lead to an increased ability to utilise visual ways of understanding and comprehending the world. Using art therapy can allow an individual with dementia ‘to transcend the isolation she or he may be feeling’.
In the UK, research suggests that a regular series of art therapy sessions can produce significant benefits on the mood and cognition for individuals with dementia. Using images can enable an individual to communicate with others in a meaningful and satisfying way.
The benefits of art therapy include:
• Allow the expression of complex thoughts and emotions
• Alleviate anxiety and depression
• Improve motor skills and cognitive functioning
• Encourage socialising and create a supportive atmosphere
• Encourage self-expression, confidence, and independence
• Promotes residents utilising art therapy as a coping strategy
ColourSpace offers custom art therapy programs, delivered either as short series or regular ongoing sessions for:
• Palliative care
• Rehabilitative care
• Dementia / Alzheimer’s care
• Parkinson’s disease care
• Respite care
• And other age related illnesses
Residents meet with the art therapist to discuss a topic they wish to explore. Residents will then be invited to explore their topic through painting, in order to allow the residents to express their feelings through different coloured mediums.
Residents will be provided with clay and collage materials and asked to create a form or an image that symbolises strength and resilience, with a variety of images relating to the theme of strength.
Dementia / Alzheimer’s Care
Residents will be asked to pick a postcard that relates to a fond memory. They will then be asked to speak about their chosen postcard to the group. Residents will then create an artwork using a colour that reminds them of this memory.
Residents will listen to a short piece of music and then be invited to create artwork in response to the music. There will be a wide range of different art materials available for the residents to use.
With a background in fine arts and a passion for leveraging the power of art to help people, Abigail has delivered art therapy programs at the Alfred Hospital, Montefiore Aged Care Facility, and the Metropolitan Remand Centre.
Abigail independently designs programs tailored for her patients, helping them achieve respective outcomes.
For patients with mental health issues, her programs expose patients to different art materials to provide opportunities for self-expression and to find relief.
For people in aged care, Abigail creates spaces where the patients feel comfortable experimenting with different mediums, whilst discussing how they feel and socialising with others.
Most recently, Abigail has run art therapy programs at the Alfred, in the adult psychiatry unit, with programs designed for both individuals and open studio art groups.
Each home and community is different.
That’s why Abigail will tailor art programs to suit the needs of your clients, delivered on-site.