It has been shown that engaging in the creative arts provides many psychological and physical benefits for both the artist and consumer. Art can be a mood changer, an anxiety reliever, a social outlet and so much more. The arts help with:
- Increasing relaxation whilst reducing anxiety and depression through promoting feelings of control, reduced boredom and instilling a sense of identity
- Promoting social skills through communication inspired by sensory stimulation, which encourages openness, trust and improved self-esteem
- Improved cognitive skills, through critical thinking and conceptual work
- The arts also provide an opportunity to practice fine motor skills which translates to movement and vision
Such benefits are most keenly felt by the young and the elderly. At the Athena Healthcare Group, we value and support such alternative therapies. This is why we’re proud to introduce our latest initiative to Parklands Lodge in Southport, the Art Hub.
The Art Hub is a community-based programme that invites residents, along with members of the public, to engage in creative pursuits in a spirit of collaboration and friendship. The hub will seek to inspire participants to engage in the arts through sessions like our beginners’ art studio as well as displaying their work along with the work of local artists in a gallery format.
For many of us, as we age, we become more reliant on others which can cause our sense of identity to diminish. However, art is a dynamic tool that allows us to harness our creativity and originality, reinstating our sense of self. It allows people to take control and ownership through their individual creations which can encourage feelings of accomplishment and increased self-esteem.
Art allows us to relax and can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that viewing art can improve our mood as it reduces the amount of cortisol, more commonly known as the ‘stress hormone’, in our brain (Psychologies, 2019). Furthermore, creating art has many similarities to meditation as concentrating on the fine details can encourage our minds to stay calm and focussed.
Art offers a platform for expression with no rules; however, it can be difficult for some older people to express themselves. This is especially true when living with conditions associated with old age such as dementia, where communication can be restricted.
Creating art allows people with dementia to express thoughts, feelings and tell a personal history, often providing moments of clarity.
The activity allows for future reminiscence with carers and loved ones, which in turn practices shorter-term recall, improves cognitive health and reduces feelings of loneliness.
At all Athena lodges, we have an in-house team of activities professionals that support such activity, through weekly planned activities schedules designed with many care requirements in mind.
We have also been fortunate to have been joined by James Walsh, a resident and local artist, who is assisting with the Art Hub. James, a local to Southport, was an active member of the Sefton Guild of Artists and his work has been exhibited in many galleries, such as Mons in Belgium.
If you would like to learn more about James Walsh, his life and work, follow the link below.