Creativity with dementia patients. Can creativity and art stimulate dementia patients positively?

Gerontology. 2006;52(1):59-65. doi: 10.1159/000089827.


Background: Creative activities could be stimulating for dementia patients. This article gives a review of practical forms of treating dementia patients with art therapeutic indications. It is also a ground for long-term research objective: in brief, I take exception to such a view, contrary to the common belief in the society and some professionals in the healthcare of dementia patients, on the ground that the patients do not have the capacity to improve their own creativity.

Methods: The theory of cognition tells us about the principle of being creative as a basis for human life. This specific principle is effective for the aged as well. In the long-term, the creative potential of old patients will be unblocked in individual and group therapy sessions.

Results: Creative activity has been shown to reduce depression and isolation, offering the power of choice and decisions. Towards the end of life, art and creativity offer a path of opening up the windows to people's emotional interiors.

Conclusions: Creative- and art therapy provides possibilities that are mostly indicated to sharpen the capacity of the senses and the patients' propensity to act themselves. Nonverbal therapy methods, such as painting, music, etc., are able to influence the well-being of the patients positively, within the modern healthcare system in nursing homes. The elderly and some of the dementia patients take the initiative to combine creativity and arts and to define his/her feeling for aesthetical matters. Furthermore, group therapy sessions help against isolation and lack of life perspective and hope.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Art Therapy* / organization & administration
  • Art Therapy* / trends
  • Creativity*
  • Dementia / psychology
  • Dementia / therapy*
  • Humans