You may have heard “art is for everyone” more than once in your life, and family members or caregivers may be actively encouraging you to start being creative.
But if you’re like many residents of El Cajon and elsewhere, you may have unpleasant memories of grade school art classes and feeling like your art was never good enough, and you went through life without really being interested in making any more of it.
In these situations, your loved ones may be right, and the staff at Accredited Home Care will back them up: more and more research into creative expression shows that simply taking time to make something can be great in so many ways.
This is true regardless of whether it’s a wonderful painting or a sculpture or something that nicely could be called “abstract.”
That’s one of the cool things about making art – it doesn’t matter what you make or what it looks like.
Yes, there are certainly critics at all levels, who compare what you do to other people’s creations. Some of these are professionals with advanced knowledge of composition and the classics. Others of these, unfortunately like certain teachers, probably shouldn’t be deciding which student’s picture is the best or criticizing other students who don’t reach whatever standard he or she has set.
This type of criticism and judgment, unfortunately, can stick with some people for years and make them either believe all their lives that they lack all artistic talent, or simply aren’t interested in making any new art.
Find your groove
Whether you stopped doing art years before or have done it occasionally, there’s never a bad time to get back into it as a senior. But this time, there won’t be any critical parents, teachers or other peers – it will just be you being creative doing what you want, whether it’s painting, drawing, or working with any other media.
Performing arts can fit in here too – nothing wrong with playing music, learning a new instrument or getting back into something you played in the past.
Even handicrafts can be considered art, even if things like quilting or crochet feel like things you do to pass the time. There is a degree of artistic flair involved in choosing colors, fabric/thread, or deciding what to make, and the items you create and give to others are more than likely appreciated.
There are plenty of ways to rediscover or nurture your skills especially if they’ve been dormant for years. A local college or senior/community center or even an art and craft store in your area likely has art courses, especially for seniors. These often can let people try their hands at different activities or with different media.
Your community may also have social-focused art events where people get together, have wine, and paint. Though participants are given a general theme or a subject to focus upon, ultimately people can make their art their way, from something realistic to something more abstract.
Right now, think of doing your art as something just for fun or to boost your brain, which can remove a lot of the pressure to perform and the natural instinct many of us have to want to compete against or compare ourselves to others.
The ‘art of making art’ can have all sorts of benefits beyond a general feeling of relaxation and creative expression.
According to Susan Kane from Business Insider, art has all sorts of value to the self and to humanity in general, regardless of how it looks or is perceived.
Various studies have shown that is a wonderful stress-reliever. In some cases, the brain power required to focus on a project can give you a break from other things that are bothering you, or at least send them to the background.
Sometimes, taking a creative break can let a solution be shown if you’re not directly thinking about it all of the time. More physical forms of art, such as dance or music, also can be good for the body.
It also has been shown to be good for the brain, including strengthening or making new connections. This could be especially vital for someone battling forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease: active efforts to boost brain cells can reduce the damage simultaneously taking place to brain cells, making it longer for some of the more advanced symptoms to start being observed.
Many seniors also report that trying to focus on art can help elevate their mood, including those grieving over losses in their life or others suffering major or minor forms of sadness. An outlet for this emotion can be healthy and healing.
Art can also help efforts to focus on a project or something bothering you, another effort where getting creative can lead to creative solutions in other parts of your life.
So keeping all these benefits in mind, it doesn’t matter what you do or how you do it: the important thing is that you’re being creative.