Research is constantly being done into how we can attempt to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, slow down its progression when it does occur, and generally improve the quality of life of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.
One promising area of research is into the benefits of participating in creative activities, for those already diagnosed with the condition, but also as a way to help us to prevent it.
Creative activities for Alzheimer’s patients
There are a number of documented benefits of Alzheimer’s patients taking part in creative activities such as drawing, writing, and making music. Arts projects have been particularly praised as positive activities for patients at whatever stage of the illness they are at.
There are many reasons why creative activities are thought to help Alzheimer’s patients. Part of it is to do with the areas of the brain that are stimulated through such activities, areas separate from the language center of our brain. So, art can provide a new form of expressing yourselves, even when language and memory become difficult. It also helps to form new neural pathways and even strengthen existing ones, which can help to slow down the rate of degeneration.
Art can also be an extremely stress-relieving activity, especially when the focus is placed on enjoying the process rather than creating the end result. This helps to keep patients engaged in an activity and helps to add structure to their day. It is also a good way of bonding with family, friends, and caregivers, either by creating art together or by sharing their art with others. Realizing that they can make other people feel good through what they create also lends itself to providing a sense of purpose.
Creativity for prevention
Do these same benefits contribute towards decreasing your chances of developing Alzheimer’s? It has been found that learning and trying new things helps to maintain the health and strength of your brain throughout life, as does regular physical exercise. All of these things can help you to fight the likelihood of developing a degenerative brain condition.
As mentioned above, creating or experiencing art uses multiple parts of your brain that you might not always use in everyday life, and also helps to form and strengthen neural pathways. Just like your body’s muscles, your brain needs regular exercise to keep it in good shape, and creative activities are a great way to keep this exercise varied and interesting.
If you care for a family member with Alzheimer’s, then getting involved in creative activities together can improve their quality of life and help you fight Alzheimer’s at the same time. This brochure can help you to choose the right activities. Get in touch with us at Brookstone of Clemmons if you need more support as a caregiver.