Health & Wellness Resources


Learning to Reap the Benefits of Art

Insightful Caregiver a balance blog series

"Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up." - Pablo Picasso

According to Pablo Picasso, we begin our lives as artists, as creative beings capable of producing original ideas, using our imagination to the fullest and producing artistic work. Then we grow up. Many grow up and shy away from “art” and artistic expression. Whatever happens to us as we grow, we feel inferior to our creativity and do not realize the full potential of what we are capable of in an artistic setting.

It’s true though, not everyone is an artist. At least not a world famous artist hanging painting on the wall of the museum or dancing on Broadway. Even for the “non-artists” of the world though, simple exposure to the arts can have benefits too.

Art has a way of providing psychological and physiological benefits to both the artist and the audience. In fact, research has shown that as the as the brain ages, creativity and artistic abilities do not deteriorate. Perhaps, this is the reason that art therapy is so effective, even in patients with Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease.


Benefits of Art

  • Relaxation
  • Reducing depression and anxiety
  • Improving cognition
  • Providing a sense of control
  • Socialization and communication
  • Eliminating boredom
  • Exercising the brain
  • Stimulation of the senses
  • Nurturing spirituality
  • Promoting self-expression
  • Increasing self-confidence and identity

Whether you are young or old, already an amazing painter, sculptor or dancer, or even if you would just prefer to view art from the sidelines, it is never too late to start exploring the arts. Architecture, sculpture, painting, music, poetry, dance and performing arts are all a good place to start your exploration. Also, consider the liberal arts of grammar, logic, rhetoric, arithmetic, geometry, music or astronomy.
There are so many ways to exercise the brain creatively and artistically and the immense benefits prove that it should in fact be a goal incorporated into everyone’s lifestyle.


Gaining Exposure to the Arts

Now that we have a better understanding of what the arts are and the benefits of art, where do you begin exploring? How do you expose your elderly loved one to art?

Consider Classes
Assisted living facilities often offer classes or art therapy for elderly patients. Senior centers, the area Y.M.C.A. or art museums may also have sessions available.

Community Theater
Many communities offer performances through the local community theater. The scope of performances can range from small plays and improvisation, to well-know-musicals.

Family and Friends
Creative people surround us. They may be relatives, friends or neighbors. If you reach out to them, you may discover a fascinating history, or find a teacher existing within your familial or community network. 

Art Museums
Not only do art museums offer classes, but consider taking a stroll through available
exhibits. Some exhibits even offer interactive art, where patrons can become part of the art, manipulate the art or relate to the art. 

Nature or City Scape Walks
Don’t just take a walk. Take a walk and make it a point to find art in nature or the
architecture surrounding you. Consider collecting pieces of nature (without disturbing or destructing) and creating art from the collected materials. 

The internet is a growing source of knowledge and value. This is also true where the arts are concerned. If someone has always wanted to crochet, there are tutorials available. If painting is of interest, research painting techniques or follow one
of the many instructional videos available online.

Art has a way of finding its way into our cognition and our hearts.

There are many ways to gain exposure to the arts. People can go in search of art, find art in your everyday life or have art brought to them. Regardless of whether a person strives to be the artist or the observer, and regardless of whether they are young or old, creativity is born inside all of us as children. We just need to learn to embrace it. Once a person of any age finds their place in the artistic world, benefits will be reaped. Art has a way of finding its way into our cognition and our hearts. It has a way of improving mood and helping people find a balance in their life. Encourage yourself or your loved one to explore art and notice how quality of life can be enhanced. If you never try, you’ll never know what you or your loved one is truly capable of artistically.



Learn More

Balance, HCR ManorCare's comprehensive health and wellness blog, supplies readers with healthy ideas throughout the year. The blog is designed to serve as a resource, not only for patients, residents and families, but for anyone who strives to live a healthy, "balanced" life. For more information and help making healthy choices, go to If you need help making a health care decision, visit our CareFinder and live chat.