Let’s admit it: just like most people, you probably think of creative writing as an activity for young budding writers or students who have to do it to get higher grades. However, creative writing is proven to be a great activity even for elderly people who suffer from dementia. In today’s world, a lot of healthcare providers and professionals encourage dementia patients to write memoirs and participate in other creative activities.
But why would a dementia patient need to write a memoir or story when college essay writing service can do that faster and with ease? Well, in this article, we will show you why creative writing is a great activity for dementia patients of all ages. Ready? Read on.
Writing boosts self-esteem
According to a recent psychological study, suffering from dementia may cause the patients to lose confidence in themselves and their abilities, thereby resulting in a huge blow to their self-esteem. Dementia patients tend not to trust their own judgment as they feel like they are no longer in control.
However, engaging in creative writing or other artistic activities can give this feeling a sharp turnaround. Here’s why: typically, engaging in creative writing on a regular basis brings about a deep sense of personal satisfaction. Subsequently, this feeling of satisfaction will have a positive impact on their self-esteem, especially when they read a story that they crafted from their own imagination.
It can significantly lower anxiety and emotional stress
Usually, dementia in combination with old age can cause a patient’s anxiety and stress levels to shoot through the roof. This can be very dangerous for their health and well-being, especially if they have other pre-existing health conditions. As such, it’s important to help them find a solid distraction from all the stress and worries they may be dealing with. This is where creative writing comes in.
Creative writing, just like any other creative activity, causes endorphins and other feel-good hormones to be released into the body. In turn, this will help them feel relaxed and happy.
This explains why modern care homes often encourage patients to engage in meaningful activities and games.
Writing stimulates cognitive function and keeps memories alive
The human brain mainly relies on stimulation and exercise to keep it alert, and creative activities such as writing have been known to help in this regard. This is because during the creative process of writing, the patient’s brain is cognitively engaged, involving a part of the brain that may not be used during other routine activities.
As such, writing can greatly improve a person’s mental processing speed, making them sharper and more alert. It can also improve one’s memory of their loved ones and past events. For instance, when a dementia patient has to write about themselves, this can trigger a core memory and enhance remembrance.
It can boost social interaction
It is quite common and easy for advanced dementia patients to become isolated or withdrawn from everyone else. Since they are struggling with memory loss, they may find it harder to create and maintain social bonds with other people around them.
Organizing joint, interactive creative writing classes can help them engage with others and socialize through shared interests. This, in turn, can have a significant positive impact on their psychological health and overall well-being.
Believe it or not, dementia patients may have a lot of negative emotions such as unhappiness, fear and anger bottled up. They typically find it difficult to express their feelings coherently to their caregivers or loved ones.
Fortunately, creative writing can be used as an outlet of expression. With this activity, they can experience freedom of expression by writing based on their mood and feelings.
Pro Tip: Your patients or loved ones don’t necessarily have to write depressing dementia poems. You can encourage them to write a creative piece about anything that makes them happy, like flowers or even a ray of sunshine.
How to Encourage Dementia Patients to Participate in Creative Writing
Whether your loved one is living independently or in a care home, there are subtle ways to encourage them to try out creative dementia activities like writing.
The best way to spark their interest is by making it an interactive session. Let them know that you’re going to write too so that they feel more secure and safe. In some cases, you could even make it a contest of sorts.
Pro Tip: Dementia patients may feel a lot of anxiety when it comes to participating in any cognitive activity like writing. As such, you need to be as patient and encouraging as possible.
Creative writing is one of the most widely encouraged free activities for dementia patients. Apart from its psychological benefits, it can also serve as a form of distraction and keep them relaxed. If you’re trying to encourage your loved one to try out writing, start off slowly and patiently. Eventually, they will feel comfortable enough to write more.
About the Author: Amanda Dudley is a lecturer and creative writer with a Ph.D in History from Stanford University. She works as an essay writer with EssayUSA, where she delivers excellent academic essays, term papers and dissertations to students who need them.