Keeping your mind fit as a fiddle can help prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. In a recent study by Mayo Clinic, the elderly can lower the risk to develop these diseases by 73% when they participate in the creative arts. When you engage your mind, the building blocks of the brain or neurons, may be protected from dying and new ones are grown.
At the 12th Annual Spring Meeting on Cardiovascular Nursing in Copenhagen, Denmark, it was reported that “… patients who appreciated music, painting and theatre recovered better from their stroke than patients who did not. Patients interested in art had better general health, found it easier to walk, and had more energy. They were also happier, less anxious or depressed, and felt calmer. They had better memory and were superior communicators.”
Whether you sing, dance, paint, potter, draw or sculpt the healing power of art is undeniable, says Lillian Gray, contemporary South African fine artist. “People of all ages and from different walks of life can benefit greatly from being creative. For children art helps them to hone their fine motor skills and increase their ability to solve problems. Adults learn to relax and rediscover their inner child. If they have never done art before, the elderly explores a new side to their being. It is an enriching and fulfilling experience even at a late age.
“I have found that many older people avoid art because they fear that they are not good enough or not creative. I will say it over and again: We are all creative. Creativity is our nature. All you have to do is find the courage to start.”
Lillian believes that it is important to find an art school where as an older person you feel safe to explore your creative side, especially if it is the first time you try your hand at art. “Look for a non-threatening and non-judgmental environment. It is also a good idea to do art with people of the same age. Not only will you feel more comfortable, but you can socialise with your peers and talk about the things that you know and understand. The combination of art and socialising for older people is a winning one!”
In her art classes at her studio in Fairland, Johannesburg, Lillian teaches a variety of art forms including drawing, sculpting, and painting. She also offers art classes for different age groups, including the elderly.
Visit www.lilliangray.co.za and book your art class today and keep your mind and spirit alive!