The Power of Art as Therapy


Art has invigorated human beings since the Neanderthals painted images on the walls of caves.  Unfortunately, there is a misconception that cognitive and sensory decline inhibit older adults from appreciating art.  As such, the community has been deprived of art’s wonder.  Luckily the tables are turning.  There is currently a quiet movement to re-infuse older adults with the beauty of creativity and it’s making people healthier.

In one documentary, “Alive Inside”, Filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett showcases the astonishing revitalization of older adults through the simple experience of listening to music.  The film chronicles examples of music’s ability to stimulate memory and recognition, including for those incapacitated from severe dementia.  The film also introduces the Music & Memory project which trains caregivers and families to create personalized playlists using digital devices to enhance therapeutic routines.

In another film, “Do Not Go Gently”, Dr. Gene Cohen proves that as long as the heart beats, creative thinking is alive.  The film features an architect who, at 96, submitted a plan to redevelop the world trade center site.

“I Remember Better When I Paint” provides additional proof that the arts can heal.

The human need to tell our personal stories in a creative way does not diminish with age.  Despite popular belief, those with dementia and Alzheimer’s need not be exempt.  Through the power of art, older adults are remembering, expressing and enjoying their life story.

We at Alliance realize how important the arts are to home health and highly recommend viewing the aforementioned films.  Remember, we’re connected with art therapists and other creative professionals throughout New York City.  If you or someone you love could use art’s healing touch or are interested in additional information or resources on this topic, please contact us at 1 (877) 687-7380.

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