Therapeutic Arts

Memory Loss and the Expressive Arts

The music swells, a foot begins to tap to the beat, hands start to clap and a smile as memories are rekindled. Studies have shown that expressive therapies including music, painting, poetry, and movement – can help people experiencing Alzheimer’s recapture past experiences and find a voice. Sitting comfortably around a table together and listening to a carefully tailored playlist, assisted living residents share clear memories of first dances, American Bandstand, and favorite band concerts.

Alzheimer’s disease damages the part of the brain that has to do with memory and complex planning.  The part involved with emotion and appreciation of the aesthetic – may remain. Individuals with dementia face loss of independence and verbal skills. Art making for instance, even in its simplest form, can involve arranging, touching, forming and requires engagement. The creative process can be energizing leaving participants with a greater sense of well-being, calm, and even improved memory.

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