Benefits of Sculpture as Art Therapy for Dementia Patients

Art therapy is a growing field, with many potential benefits for patients. However, professionals in the field of mental health in Singapore recognise the need for more studies and more definitive data about different kinds of art therapy and how they help patients with specific conditions. One study reviewed the impact of sculpting as art therapy for dementia patients, with some interesting results.

Limited Access to Art Activities

Once dementia patients land in a nursing home, their range of activities typically includes some gentle sports or movement activities, cooking, memory training, and spiritual or religious activities. Rarely do they have the opportunity to create artistic works; and when they do, the type of art is usually limited to drawing and painting or collage.

Emotional Trauma of Dementia and Memory Loss

Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can cause elderly patients to feel very stressed, anxious, angry. They can’t remember or understand things as they used to, and the resulting level of frustration can be very painful.

Relief Through Art

Some reports reveal that trained artists with Alzheimer’s disease are able to find some peace and happiness when they are able to create art again. Even for people who weren’t trained as artist, the act of molding clay, painting, or creating some other kind of art feels good and relieves tension.

A Study with Sculpture

One study explored the effect of sculpting on a group of male dementia patients. The men created tree trunks about the same size as average humans. According to the study, the experience reinforced “corporality, space and orientation.” The exercise helped to “increase personal awareness, identification with oneself and relations with others, intensified by group interactions amidst the sensory stimulation of the outdoor world.”

Emotional Connections

The patients also participated in a questionnaire, designed to gauge feelings of joy, sadness, loneliness, relaxation, concentration, and more. The study noted positive changes in the team of men who worked outdoors, crafting their life-sized tree trunk sculptures. The research team noted continuous improvement compared with a control group.

Potential Benefits of Sculptural Art Therapy

Besides giving them a sense of well-being, accomplishment, and teamwork, the exercise helped these older men improve their corporeal memory. As the participants activated their creative resources, they were able to get in touch with some of their former cognitive and emotional potential.

Art Therapy in Singapore

Do you know an elderly individual with dementia? Consider signing up for some art therapy sessions for your senior friend or family member. You can call Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic today at 62509833 to schedule a consultation and discuss available options.

In addition to our art therapy options, our clinic offers counselling for children and youth, help for soldiers or police officers with PTSD, aid for people with depression or anxiety, and assistance for offenders. Contact our office and find out how you can get confidential, effective help from a qualified mental health professional in Singapore.

Our clinic is located conveniently at the Adelphi  (click for map): Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic – Psychiatrists and Psychologists for Mental Health in Singapore.

Article by Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic Blog Team

Source: The study can be downloaded here.