Art therapy: Using the creative process for healing and hope among African American older adults

Geriatr Nurs. Sep-Oct 2006;27(5):309-16. doi: 10.1016/j.gerinurse.2006.08.010.


This article provides an introduction to the field of art therapy and the potential it can offer to address the emotional needs of the frail elderly. Two case studies are discussed, and examples of artwork are provided. The case studies and artwork were created under the guidance of an art therapist at a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) site in an urban African American community. This article explores how art making addresses the specific developmental tasks of the elderly in a culturally competent manner. Included are practical considerations in the choice of art media and directives for working with elderly clients, as well as resources for further information on the use of art in therapy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • African Americans / ethnology*
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology
  • Aging / psychology
  • Alzheimer Disease / ethnology
  • Alzheimer Disease / rehabilitation
  • Art Therapy / organization & administration*
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • Certification
  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Frail Elderly / psychology*
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Life Change Events
  • Mental Health
  • Morale*
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Social Behavior