"I Remember Better When I Paint"
Narrated by Olivia de Havilland, this film features Doctor Yasmin Aga Khan, President of Alzheimers Disease International and the daughter of Rita Hayworth (who had Alzheimers). Dr Sam Gandy describes how the parietal lobe within the brain is impacted in the later stages of Alzheimers and how it can be stimulated by creative activities such as art & craft.
Watching from the 1.50 mark in this video called Beyond Bingo: Art Therapy for the Elderly, Dr Majid Fotuhi talks about the ageing process and how just because the memory functions of the brain are deteriorating, other parts of the brain are "quite healthy and it can improve... these front parts of the brain are often activated when you engage in creating artwork." He goes onto say that this actually benefits the entire brain due to all the interconnections between the various parts of the brain.
The video below is about "reminiscence art sessions" run in 14 care homes across South London, using various activities including art & craft classes to rekindle the memories of elderly patients with Alzheimers. The project has the backing of a couple of NHS Foundation Trusts, The Alzheimers Society and The University of London.
There are many benefits for the elderly who engage in regular arts and crafts - from reduced anxiety and boredom to improved cognitive ability and an opportunity to socialise and recall events previously long forgotten. That said, I'm not an expert trained in the science of ageing and decreased cognitive function (although many, many years ago I was a research scientist). What I have seen from my personal experience of running art and craft classes in nursing homes over a number of years, is that the benefits go well beyond having something different and enjoyable to do for the day. That said, even if it was just something different and enjoyable to do for the day, that in itself would be a worthy outcome!