How do I integrate art in my mom’s daily activities?

Integrating art into your mom’s daily activities is very effective in not only keeping her active and giving her something to enjoy, but also it will stimulate her brain, stirring memories and bringing back some of her language skills.

Appreciation of art and music are deeply embedded in the brain and are the last areas in the brain to be affected as the brain deteriorates through the progression of Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Art can trigger dormant memories and encourages dialogue and socialization. Essentially, art helps the brain navigate a new communication path. It draws from parts of the brain that language doesn’t.

Art is a form of expression, and, oftentimes, a failure-free activity, whether you involve your mom in viewing art or creating it.

Art can give your mom a sense of purpose and accomplishment, and it will give her an opportunity to create and enjoy the experience. She might enjoy the widely popular adult coloring books, which can not only ease stress and anxiety but also can give you both an opportunity to reminisce about times you colored in the past.

Be cautious, however, about the pages you choose, as some are very busy and intricate, which might cause confusion with your mom, and she would not readily want to do the activity or enjoy it.

Painting and drawing are relatively easy activities and can be a way for your mom to put her thoughts on paper. If you choose a painting activity, use simple watercolors and paper.

Set all the supplies out for her to view and touch and explain to her what she will be doing. It will be helpful to her to have a subject selected, such as something seasonal, or a bowl of fruit or vase of flowers.

Working with clay can be therapeutic, too, though some art therapists feel it can be a regressive activity for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia and perhaps provoke negative memories long hidden or unresolved. If you choose to work with clay , just be cautious that the activity should create joy.

Take your mom to your local art museum. It will keep her connected to the community.

Allow her to look at each art piece and describe to you what she is feeling and/or what the artist was trying to express. You can even ask her to create a story around the artwork.