Comments on: Example of Arts Activities Helping Seniors With Alzheimer’s and Dementia Remember Inspiring others to create. Wed, 09 Aug 2017 23:41:33 +0000 hourly 1 By: Aneesha Parrone Tue, 12 Mar 2013 22:14:05 +0000 Hi Virginia ~ When I work with anyone, I keep in mind that we are all on this journey of life together….Would I want someone to see me as broken or would I want someone to celebrate how I am succeeding? Genuinely welcoming people into the class (and myself if I feel resistance to the lesson, to the outcome, to the person)seems to open the space for allowing more beneficial responses to happen. Acceptance seems to be the foundation to any of my classes. For the last 2 years I have been introducing some art history powerpoint presentations and the things that I keep in mind are: Keep it Simple Be Direct Keep it to the senses. When I show a slide I ask what do they see? And we start discussiing from there. I ask what colors did the artist use? and we discuss that. I ask how does this painting make you feel? And we discuss. Sometimes some of them fall asleep…none of them leave …and most of them participate in the art project that ensues. I try not to judge…One woman has come to about 95% of my classes for the last 3 years, ad never participates. She just sits through the class and sometimes comments on what others are doing. Last Oct or Nov she actually participated in the class—only drew one small circle….Then each class since then, she has participated a little more and now is fully participating. Her process for allowing just took a little longer than others. Also, celebrating the responses that are shared by those who are more able, often opens doors to memories of others. Yesterday,as we painted butterflies, one woman who has a very good memory, remembered poems from when she was in 2nd grade and began to recite them. That stimulated the memory of another participant who has memory challenges to remember a tree that attracted butterflies in the summer. That lead to more discussions about butterflies. The more relaxed the atmosphere, the more people share. We had someone new yesterday who had come with her visiting daughter. She drew and painted a butterfly and did well. I just took it for granted that all participate. She kept saying she wasn’t an artist, yet she did very well. When her daughter left, she told me that was a milestone.

By: Virginia Thu, 14 Feb 2013 19:39:03 +0000 I am a gerontology student looking for ways to use art for dementia/Alzheimer’s patients to help with memory recall. This might include journaling projects, or other creative art projects. Can anyone share some good projects, or report to me on what they have found to be useful practices in dealing with elderly and their overall well-being?
Thanks for your help.

By: Aneesha Wed, 29 Aug 2012 19:14:08 +0000 Hi Lolly ~ Lately I have had a lot of success with one group doing purposeful art discussions. I have a mini art history power point with music and then we discuss one of the slides in depth…simple guided questions…lots of affirming encouragement and acknowledging specific points a person makes. Usually someone will pick up the thread and take it one tiny step further, which leads to a question and then further discussion. One woman who loves to come to the class but doesn’t participate in the art actually carries on lively conversational art dialogue with other members of the class when we use this format for class.

By: Lolly Wed, 25 Jul 2012 04:06:11 +0000 Thank you for this web site. I am an Activities Asst. for late stage Alzheimer’s and Dementia.and have been looking for a web site to find more things to do with my residents in art. it is some times hard to find things that they may like I love my residents and want to do anything for them to see them and so see their simle on there faces is priceless . Bless this web site and you for sharing your gifts. Lolly

By: Aneesha Thu, 28 Jun 2012 16:08:27 +0000 Hi ~
Lisa, I am sorry I didn’t see this earlier ~ Yes, I am excited you will be working with your mom with fibers, especially if she used to sew. I have found that when some of the folks I work with have done anything fiber related, they have a strong “muscle memory” and even when they insist they don’t know what they are doing, their muscles are “remembering” and the techniques with weaving and felting are successful and enriching. Gentle reassurance and a successful project oftentimes restores calm and confidence during times of frustration.

By: Aristide "Steven" Pappas Fri, 22 Jun 2012 04:21:31 +0000 What a beautiful article. I am a graduate student in a clinical psychology doctoral program. I am also a psychology assistant and artist. I love working with the elderly and my grandparents were my best friends growing up. I am also doing my dissertation research on Expressive Arts Therapy used with the aging and would be interested in speaking to any art therapist who uses the creative arts with the elderly. I will be doing short phone interviews soon and if you would like to participate please email me at Thanks so much for you article and inspiration!! Excellent passion and work.

By: Lissa Masters Thu, 08 Mar 2012 17:28:43 +0000 Great ideas and nice contribution. I am taking care of my mom who is challenged by Alzheimers. I am going to look into working with fiber because she used to love to sew. Thanks!

By: Michelle Fri, 24 Feb 2012 00:26:34 +0000 I would love a career in Art Therapy…. I am working towards a degree in Therapy/counseling and have always wanted to be an art therapist. The only problem is I can’t draw; however I am very creative and love art and crafts etc. I know this may seem like a crazy question, but can you be an art therapist and not be ale to draw?

By: Aneesha Tue, 01 Nov 2011 13:34:43 +0000 Dear Ginny ~ I did not see this comment until now ~
Thank you for your kindness, your creativity and awareness of your deep insight into who you are. Ginny, you, too, offer to me an inspiration ~ What a joy to share a communion of spacious joy that comes from receiving and giving….Your creative homework for me of creating a list is a delightful challenge…Thank you ! First on my list is to keep on risking the sharing—yes, the sharing of your creativity! I bow to you this morning,as you are a Beloved teacher for me ~ Thanks! ~ Aneesha

By: Admin Tue, 28 Jun 2011 07:14:48 +0000 What a wonderful poem. Thank you Virginia, you made our week!

By: Virginia Murphy Mon, 27 Jun 2011 00:55:15 +0000 Thank you for sharing,
and so too will I…
your work shows your caring,
as will my reply!

I was feeling downward,
Left out of life,
You focused me upward
To create with delight.

Do you think you might make up
A list of ideas,
Things that would shake up
Us old souls, my deahs?

So folks will not “shelf” us
Or think we’re “ka-put”,
Things that would help us
Get out of our rut?

Thanks ever so much
For your sensitive touch! Ginny Murphy
Ridgway, Penna.

By: Aneesha Parrone Wed, 16 Mar 2011 01:28:03 +0000 Hi Elesha ~

I am so happy to hear of your interest in art therapy. Oftentimes, the areas where we are helped most are also the areas we can be of great assistance. As a life-long learner, I feel we are never “too old” … I know many people who have gone back for degrees in higher education after they were 50. 60 and even 70 years old. For myself, I have found that surrounding myself with people who support my dreams and relaxing into my dream is the best way to open doors of possibilities. When I teach and when I do my own art work, I find if I leave the inner critic at the door and focus on my abilities rather than my limitations, things blossom and open. Limitations are, for me, simply expressions showing me to try a different approach…especially if it is with something or someone I love. As Rumi wrote, “…sing a love song to your existence. You can never overdo praising your own soul. You can never over-pamper your heart.”

By: Elesha Tue, 15 Mar 2011 12:09:02 +0000 I would so love to be an art therapist but obtaing a masters degree at my age seems overwhelming. I went thru a bad time in my life where art and music therapy was my saving grace. It helped me to escape the madness around me. I was considering working with seniors, children and developmentally challenged but I’m not certified. Good job! Love your work.

By: Aneesha Mon, 14 Mar 2011 23:10:26 +0000 Hi, Jamie ~ You are very welcome. Sue, the art therapist at the assisted living home, and I are very excited about our work. We have also found that many of our friends who have never done art are actually very talented and enjoy sharing their expressions and enjoy participating. Sometimes, someone will only want to watch and that is ok, too. The giving and receiving boundaries are so blended, we simply “are” ~ a true gift of experience for all of us. I wish you much joy and success in all of your endeavors.

By: Jaime Mon, 14 Mar 2011 13:38:26 +0000 I am an artist and writer aspiring to study Art Therapy in the future. This project is amazing. My grandmum is losing ehr memory as well and is terminally ill. She never did art before, mainly knitting. But I think something like this would be of a great benefit to her. I think I might try some form of expressive art project with her. Thank You for sharing this post!!!