Art Therapy and Dementia

Ordinarily, senior members of the society are the most prevalent to dementia. Patients with dementia mostly experience neuropsychiatric symptoms, which lower their quality of life. The bad news is that the pharmacologic treatments for dementia symptoms are insufficient regarding efficiency.  In light of the lack of prospects for the cure of dementias, the procedures, which are aimed at improving the neuropsychiatric symptoms as well as the quality of life, are required.

Taking care of a loved one with dementia has always been challenging. Obtaining the right form of care is stressing because of the amount of emotional together with physical support the elderly with dementia will require. Many of the research has proven that art therapy has been successful to help take care of people with dementia.  Art therapy is a form of care management of people with dementia that adopt art as a tool for self-expression. It helps the emotional development of all individual of all age with some psychological background such as medical, behavioral, emotional and mental conditions (Safar,  & Press, 2011).

The most distressing clinical features, which are experienced, by individuals with dementia as well as their caregiver are neuropsychiatric symptoms.  Some of the symptoms include sleep impairment, hallucinations, aggression, delusions, apathy, inappropriate sexual behaviors, and depression.  An individual with dementia cannot function properly with their daily activities, they worsen their quality of life and enhances rapid cognitive decline. It becomes a huge burden to care for people with dementia, and it has an adverse effect in the physical as well as the emotional health of the caregiver. The caregiver may be distressed with symptoms such as anxiety, depression and an increase in the mortality rate (Whitcomb, 2010).

Thesis statement

The research work will focus on evaluating the effectiveness of art therapy on the individual with dementia and seek to confirm the finding from other literature that it improves the cognitive ability of anyone suffering from the adverse effects neuropsychiatric symptoms.

Problem Statement

Caring and management for patients with dementia has been tedious and overly stressing because of the physical and emotional demands of the sick person. With the ever-increasing demands of this, patients there is a failure of the medication to work efficiently, and the modification treatment of the diseases are insufficient. More so, the cure is not coming anytime soon.


The primary objective of the project is to show that art can be efficiently incorporated in the care management and control of individuals with dementia. The work aims at putting the idea of including art therapy within the patients who have dementia into use.

Project Description

It has been proven that creative activities have been of help to patients with dementia. The concept of art therapy is an efficient mode of intervention in dementia is based on the hypothesis and observation of some of the patients being able to produce or either do art. The project will enhance and encourage the use of art therapy for a patient with dementia by using the making art program in collaboration with the viewing art programs the elderly and people with dementia so that to help stimulate their mental activity and boost their ability to remember. The strength of someone to produce as well as appreciate art is relatively preserved in dementia.  The appreciation and production of art entail visual together with emotional processes as well as the recognition of meaning. In the later stages of dementia, severe deficits of visuospatial functions will set in.

At this stage; the patient cannot tell the difference between a fine art and a blurred object. Therefore, art therapy cannot be of use at this later stage. Howler before this later stage patients can be helped to increase their cognitive abilities by keeping the brain activities on the rise by either making or viewing art. A patient with dementia will undergo episodic memory loss as the first stage followed by semantic impairments then later attention, as well as executive dysfunctions, will set in. However, the project will be used to help an individual in the early stage of dementia. In which the visual cortex is preserved in the onset of dementia. Therefore the preserved visual cortex can support the intermediate and low vision, which includes the observation of colors, identification of location, contours, segregation along with a grouping of components.

Usually the occipitotemporal ventral stream, which takes part in recognition of things, not affected as much as the dorsal parietal, which is involved in the location of objects in space. The traits of the dorsal stream, which are deficient in dementia, are visual attention, depth perception, motion detection, and angle-discrimination. Despite that the dementia pathology makes the ability to create conceptually rich are less probable, the fact that preservation of primary visual, as well as motor function, support the capabilities required to produce art makes it possible for art therapy to work with the best invention program.
Research Context

The evidence is well attributed to Hilda Gorenstein, Carolus Hom, and William Utermohlen is some of the few artists who managed to paint well into their deteriorating dementia state. Hilda Gorenstein at the time of her diagnosis she had stopped painting for almost a decade but after being encouraged by her daughter to paint she told her that she remembers well when she paints. She was inspired to decorate again, and she did this through her last year of ailment despite its severity (Whitcomb, 2010). For the case of Utermohlen, over the cause of his dementia state, he developed some self-portraits that were so haunting.

However, they were distorted in form, the spatial organization over time but they retained the ability to express complex emotions.  The main aim of the project is to ensure that all the people who are diagnosed with mental problems gain access to any form of active participation in art. It has been proven that not only individuals with prior abilities of painting benefit from the therapy but also all of the patients with dementia can benefit from the program. It has been observed that individuals lacking formal art training have the ability to produce an outstanding piece of art in the deteriorating mental state.

For instance, Rita Hayworth was an actor who was experiencing paranoia together with psychosis in early stages of dementia started painting which helped her relax by restoring her piece of mind. On the other had Lester Potts, a sawmill worker, painted more than 100water colors form his childhood despite the fact that he had never painted before his diagnosis. From the evidence indicated above, it is true that participative art can be used as an intervention in people with dementia (Safar, & Press, 2011).



The projected will be interjected in all the health care centers, which are, involved which caring for people with mental illness, especially psychological loss. All nursing homes such as Chicago, Boston among more homes for the elderly located all over the country will be incorporated into the project. The project management will be in collaboration with the art museums for people with dementia to help make smooth the process of access to art. Both genders will be allowed to participate in the program. To increase the reach to a variety of participant, we will use all the professional healthcare bodies that deal with patients having brain issues, form the psychotherapy sessions to hospital and nursing homes. The first criteria cycle of the program will involve only those patients who have art training to be on the making art team while the rest will be on the viewing and adoration team. Later everyone will be involved in the process of making and viewing art.


The program will be rolled out to everyone within the society. The project will identify the culture of diversity and care. While recruiting members to help in the project, we will ensure that the team is diverse enough to accommodate the variety of the patients in the nursing homes. More so, the project will not be limited to one specific area or region but will try to roll out to the different areas to increase the diversity of members. In the first set while, selecting some of the members to participate in the program cultural diversity will be one of the factors to be considered.


In conclusion, it is evident that for those caring for the patients with dementia it becomes relatively hard to cope with both their physical as well as the emotional demands. More so, the medical professional along with the families of the sick have the most nagging question of what can be done.  The modification therapies of dementia are partial, and the cure cannot be guaranteed to be obtained any time soon. Hence, there is a demand for an alternative way that can be of help towards natural caring and management of people with dementia. The patient, on the other hand, suffered a series of neuropsychiatric symptoms which reduce their quality of life all through their period of treatment until death. The long duration from diagnosis to demise, any form of therapy that can lead to alleviation of the neuropsychiatric symptoms while improving the life quality of patients as well as reducing the caregiver distress will be helpful and most welcomed. That is why the project is set that entails visual arts will be a significant intervention. The art program tailors the patient’s talent and helps reduce the neuropsychiatric symptoms. If it is successful, it will have earned a slot in the treatment armamentarium for dementia.


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