Art Therapy Communicates with Elderly

Art is an ancient therapy for the creators and the viewers. Art lives on. For dementia sufferers, it provides a much-needed visual-based communication that surpasses language.

The New York City chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association hosts “Mindful Connections” for dementia sufferers at the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan. The program is modelled after others in the United States of America.

Nancy Lee Hendley, dementia care trainer told the New York Times: “Art offers them a way of communication that doesn’t rely on their verbal skills and allows them to contribute in a way that they don’t often get to do.”

In the tours, participants are divided into groups based on physical and cognitive abilities. The limited group in wheelchairs or with problems looking up at the art, are guided with hands-on objects, like a piece of fabric or a small statue. David Rosenberg, a guide, told The Times: “Some of them are nonverbal, and they respond more to touch or to one-on-one presentation.”

Participants often share insightful comments from their own perspectives.

Art therapy is for residents in Continuing Care and Alzheimers Care.