Art promotes healing

I believe that we are born artists. Before we can write, before we can read, we can communicate visually… What happens to our creativity when we get older? Do we lose it?
The question, posed by Jeff Nachtigall to The Calgary Journal, is just as quickly answered,  “Maybe we haven’t lost (it), but we have buried it,” said Nachtigall.  “Some of us have buried it deeper than others.”
In the article, Art for seniors and residents of long term care facilities promotes healing, Nachtigall, the artist-in-residence at Sherbrooke Community Centre in Saskatoon, and the keynote speaker for the third Creative Aging Calgary Symposium, demonstrated the “results of using visual arts as a way for residents of long-term care facilities to access their own creative potential.”
To gain participation in an art session at the Centre, Nachtigall placed a large piece of canvas paper on the floor of the studio, and finally, attached rags to the bottoms of canes and wheelchairs.  With their chosen colour of paint, the residents would travel across the paper, creating one large painting. 
 Art and dementia appear to go hand-in-hand, as “many studies have linked the participation in some type of artistic work with positive outcomes for people living with” the disease.  The Calgary Journal reported on a 2010 article in the Journal of Active Aging that said, “Artistic endeavors target the healthy parts of the brain – areas untouched by disease, whether the participant has Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.”
Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are common diseases that affect many people, and staying active has become a significant way of delaying the on-set.  Finding a way to stay physically and mentally motivated – be it walking, painting, dancing, etc. – are important activities to engage oneself in.  You can live a full life, despite Alzheimer’s.    
Get involved in the community:
On Tuesday, June 22, SERC is hosting Taste of the Artsday, where everyone is welcome to come out and try a new activity.  We will have a palette of programs, from painting, to singing, to Latin dancing.  So mark that calendar – and we hope to see you soon!
(Picture provided by Center for American Progress)

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