When we hear the term “dementia,” it often causes fearful reactions, and many people think of it as a disease that means the end of life as one knows it. But seniors who have dementia can still live lives full of creativity. In fact, creative outlets can help seniors with the illness grow and learn, while also taking some of the burden off of their caregiver.
A recent article from Healthday discussed creativity in those with dementia. The news source tells the story of a 91-year-old woman identified as Sherry, who has developed short-term memory loss due to dementia. Though she wasn’t very active as a writer during her younger years, the senior found a new passion for the written word when she attended a community center writing workshop in Albuquerque, NM. Her first story, about an artistic turtle named Homer, got quite a bit of attention.
“People look at dementia and loss and deficit. They never assume people with dementia can grow or learn anything [but] that’s what we’re witnessing: growth and expression and skill-building,” Anne Basting, director of the Center on Age and Community at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, told the news source.
Opportunities for seniors to creatively express themselves can contribute to healthy aging, whether they’re attending a class at a community center, or simply spending time with friends at their retirement community, painting or drawing together.
According to Sage: The Science of Aging, seniors who participate in creative activities can help “revive their memories,” especially those who have Alzheimer’s disease. Seniors can often use their talents for writing or painting to recall memories of their life.
Caregivers can help encourage creativity in their loved ones by asking them about what activities they enjoy, or talking to staff at the retirement community to see what opportunities are offered. Sunrise communities foster creativity in residents through their unique Programming & Activities.
Citation: Little, Julia. “Creativity Still Flows In Seniors With Dementia.” Sunrise Senior Living. Sunrise Senior Living, 04 Oct. 2012. Web. 05 Oct. 2012. http://www.sunriseseniorliving.com/blog/October-2012/Creativity-Still-Flows-In-Seniors-With-Dementia.aspx