Mental Health Benefits of Art for Alzheimer’s and Dementia

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PFAC is partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association on a program called Art Matters. Every 3rd Friday of the Month starting in September, we will have a social engagement program for people recently diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia and their care partners. The program starts at 10:30 am at the PFAC and goes until noon. The Alzheimer’s Association will be providing this program for free but registration is required by calling 1-800-272-3900

A 2014 study by the National Institute of Health, demonstrated that drug treatments for dementia symptoms are limited in their success.  Case studies and several small trials suggest that art therapy does help. Art enhances cognitive abilities and memory, even for people with serious brain disorders. Dementia is mainly thought of as a memory loss problem, but patients also experience other symptoms such as agitation, aggression, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

When dementia patients are encouraged to create visual art, they derive obvious pleasure from it.  There is no need to feel intimidated about doing art since it’s the process of creating art that provides the benefits, not the quality of the artistic expression. In addition, Professor Semir Zeki, a neurobiologist at the University College London, discovered that the simple act of viewing art will give pleasure, much like falling in love.

You can learn more about how Alzheimer’s affects that brain in a public program we are having at PFAC on Wednesday, September 25 at 6 pm. The Alzheimer’s Association will be providing this program for free but registration is required by calling 1-800-272-3900.

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