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Benefits of Painting for Seniors with Dementia

An older couple work on an oil painting together

Art classes for seniors are important for many reasons. The challenges of aging can be overwhelming, and painting can provide a meditative experience. It’s a time to find beauty in the world around you but also to dive deep within your own thoughts. It can be a time for social interaction or for quiet introspection.


Painting and Dementia

For seniors with dementia, the benefits are even greater. Brain stimulation, if not constantly engaged, can progressively decline. Painting requires focus, which has enormous rewards for seniors living with dementia. In fact, by engaging both sides of the brain, painting stimulates different centers and lobes of the brain simultaneously. For seniors with dementia, painting can help create connections and encourage passions that can cut through the fog of memory loss.


Dementia and the Benefits of Painting

For those who work in memory care, there is no better feeling than to witness the pride on someone’s face at creating a unique piece of art. That sense of achievement helps boost confidence. Another benefit of painting for dementia is that it stimulates the mind. In fact, studies have shown that cognitive development can be improved with painting and other forms of art therapy.


12 Benefits to Painting for Seniors with Dementia:

  1. Increases brain stimulation and improves hand-eye coordination
  2. Offers sensory stimulation
  3. Improves cognition
  4. Provides a sense of personal achievement 
  5. Increases self-esteem
  6. Soothes and relaxes the mind and body
  7. Reduces anxiety and depression
  8. Allows for free expression of creativity 
  9. Enhances mood and general well-being 
  10. Encourages playfulness and a sense of humor
  11. Creates a sense of control for those who often feel they have none
  12. Opens opportunities for socialization


Art Is Therapy

Research is incredibly consistent when it comes to the benefits of painting for seniors with dementia. People with dementia can find it hard to verbally express their feelings and creativity. By using art as a tool, they find it easier to get their thoughts and feelings down on paper. 


More importantly, perhaps, is the strong correlation between dementia and depression. Luckily, engaging in creative activities such as painting has been proven to be a mood enhancer and improve general well-being. Art can even improve cognitive functions by producing new neural pathways. It can stir dormant memories, encourage speech, or spark nonverbal expressions such as smiles and laughter. 


Positive, Purposeful Memory Care

At Presbyterian Homes communities, we offer specialized memory care programs, physical fitness activities, and a variety of appropriate events that encourage interactions and foster friendships. We’ve seen firsthand the benefits of painting for dementia. 


If you’d like to know more about our memory care communities or, more specifically, about our art classes for seniors, contact us today. We can answer all your questions and help you schedule a tour of our senior living communities.