Alzheimer’s disease can affect any of us in our old age, but doing creative things like creative art lesson plans can help to offset the symptoms of dementia. Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease and there has been no cure discovered for it yet. This means that it is incredibly important to find ways to help sufferers cope and delay further symptoms.
There is also no known cause of Alzheimer’s, but it has been shown that doing new activities such as learning a new hobby can help promote neural pathway health and growth, both of which are lost as the disease progresses.
As we get older, we tend to stick to the same behavior patterns that we’ve learned over the course of our lives. The massive amount of learning we undertake as children, both academic and social, sets the neural pathways for our later lives. While the research into the causes of Alzheimer’s is limited, it is suggested that it can stem from a lack of neural stimulation. Out of all of the psychological therapies available, any that require someone to change their day to day routine are shown to help with both mood and brain function.
Learning something new like art lesson plans helps to create new neural pathways, which in turn helps to revitalize and regenerate some of the older ones. Art in particular triggers a whole range of different brain functions:
- Visual awareness – the act of transferring the 3D world to a 2D medium requires a lot of thought processes, from how to convert scale to conveying foreground and background
- Color definition – by asking the brain to identify and use the colors of nature, art lesson plans keep the brain’s palette open. It can also help to maintain accurate vision for longer.
- Hand-eye co-ordination – one of the first things to go with Alzheimer’s disease is the connection between mind and body, and many older people with the disease will not be able to take part in physical activities that will help keep that connection. Painting helps to maintain and improve fine motor control, especially on fine detailed pictures.
One of the other side benefits of taking an art class is that it helps people to make friends and maintain their social skills. The class will give them something new to learn and to practice, but it will also provide a circle of like minded people with whom to discuss their new hobby and compare their work. Simple conversations can be a great way to improve function due to the somewhat unpredictable nature of human relationships and language.
Find the right art lesson plans to suit your needs. Get in touch with your local community college. Many colleges offer noncredit courses for extended learning to enrich lives. If committing to a scheduled class does not appeal to you look into downloading complete lessons onto your own computer. I recently purchased and reviewed “I Am Painting” course. The instructions for acrylic painting are very clear and lots of pictures are supplied for the visual learner.
While Alzheimer’s disease prevention may be the goal, relaxation and a sense of accomplishment will be additional benefits. A second career or a way to make added income is not out of the question either.
Other articles in our activities series
Activities for Senior Citizen Centers
Growing Bonsai Trees
Oil Painting Techniques Offer Mind and Body Connection Benefits
Retirement Advice and Being Active
Pastels Art Lesson Plans
Beginner Guitar Lessons
Beginner Guitar Lessons Part Two
Piano Lessons for Beginners
Family Tree Research
Tai Chi for Seniors