Your loved one may be a budding “Grandma Moses”. Anna Mary Robertson (Moses), also known as “Grandma Moses,” began art in her late seventies. She was completely self-taught. Anna lost her husband, Thomas Moses and suffered a great loss. She sought ways to keep busy and overcome her grief. Art was the answer for her.
It may also be the answer for patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that affects the brain in a predictable way. It begins in the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for creating memories from experiences. From there it moves to the front of the brain where language is processed and executive functions like decision making are formulated. Next, it moves to the logic center where problem solving and planning are controlled. Emotions and creativity remain viable for a much longer time.
Studies have shown that art is a wonderful therapy for patients with any type of dementia. “We would never have discovered my mother’s talent if not for an art program. Mom’s creativity had profound, positive effects on her, and as a result, our family.”
By stimulating a patient’s creative areas, we can make connections in a way that we may have thought were lost forever. Through art patients can stimulate cognition with lines and colors through painting and drawing, or even sculpture. Art provides a non-verbal channel of communication and can overcome inadequacies of self-expression due to impaired language ability. They can explore their feelings, vent negative emotions and make significant achievements in improving attention and reducing behavioral and psychological symptoms of anxiety, depression, etc.
Some people with dementia lose their ability to relate to people. Art has been found to deepen connections with other people. Their art work becomes the topic of conversation, which increases their self-worth. The bottom line is it helps patients with dementia live with dignity, purpose and self-esteem.
One of the largest benefits of both art and music therapy is that it can lessen their need for high doses of pharmacological treatments. In recent years, we have depended too much on a pill to solve our problems. With every pill or medication there are side effects. Art and music therapy does not have any adverse effects. So, is your loved one a budding “Grandma Moses” just waiting for the opportunity to express his or her creativity?