Art therapy paints more than a pretty picture

The benefits of art and its therapeutic benefits for the elderly were on display last Thursday 21 June at Club Macquarie as Anglican Care brought together consumers from their home care and day support programs and services to enjoy a day of fun, friendship and creativity.

While art therapy is an established and regular activity throughout all Anglican Care’s services, the ‘Create A Masterpiece’ function is a first for Anglican Care – which brought together around 60 consumers with varying needs, where they were provided with easels, canvases and paint equipment as well as expert tips and advice from Paint Your Town.

Chris Giles, Anglican Care’s General Manager of Community Care Services, said studies conducted all over the world report on the positive effects art therapy can have on the health and wellbeing in the elderly.

“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 discussion and socialising,” Ms Giles said.

The therapy is particularly of benefit to people with dementia or Alzheimer’s as they can experience a range of physical, cognitive and psychological benefits and can sometimes even unlock a memory or creative side of the person which may have been forgotten in their senior years.

“Many people go for years without nurturing their creative side. Others remain creative but give up in old age. Everybody is creative, no matter their skills, age or background. Picking up a paintbrush, making something with your hands, even dancing, playing an instrument or singing, often brings back memories but it can also uncover hidden talents.

Participants of the program were treated to morning tea, then calming music was played and the participants were encouraged to start their own Masterpieces under the guidance of the talented artists from Paint Your Town.