Creativity in folks with dementia is often alive and well. But altered.
For two years, 2012 – 14, I did a volunteer art program at a retirement home. At one time in my life I had been a nursery school teacher, and very attuned to the importance of children’s creative expression. I found the pleasure people with dementia have when they complete an art project parallels the joy young children have in expressing themselves. Small children tend to be non-critical and fully satisfied with what they create. I saw the same kind of reaction in my retirement-home art group.
Let’s look at a couple of paintings done at the retirement home.
With this painting, the artist, who was about 84, recalled youthful summers stooking grain on a Saskatchewan farm.
The man who did this, who was well into his 90s, recalled what he liked best to do in the snow. Note the unabashed childlike execution of this piece.
Giving my art group participants tactile materials to use – cotton balls and batting, in this case – added another level of pleasurable sensation to their creative adventures.