The Benefits of Creativity on Dementia


            Sensations Memory Care Residence likes to focus on our residents’ abilities to be creative. For every activity category we have (Heartfelt Hobbies, Games Galore, Music Magic, etc.), there is some sort of creative outlet. There are a few reasons that we like to focus so much on having our residents create things.

Dementia can be a scary disease. Having pent up anxiety, anger, sadness, or any other negative emotion can really affect people’s mental health. Being able to let these things go and take our minds off of them is a huge relief. Sometimes, distracting ourselves from what’s going on is the best way to cope with our situations! The same is true for those with memory impairments. There are a lot of things we can do to provide distractions, but one of the best ways to calm anyone down, increase their happiness, and even help reduce memory issues is by engaging their creativity.

            Creativity, no matter what the medium (painting, writing, singing, even cooking!), is a positive outlet for all of our feelings. When someone is making something, it’s giving them purpose. It’s easy for people who have dementia to feel as though they don’t have a purpose – especially if they’re not living on their own or have a caregiver. Allowing them to create something and bring it into this world shows them that they still have meaning and is a huge confidence booster. It gives their brains a break from the thoughts that might be occupying it.

As a person creates more art, their brain creates and releases dopamine – this special chemical may go unnoticed at first, but leads to improved memory, increased happiness & productivity, and extra energy! Dopamine is really important. In an MRI study led by Annalena Venneri, PhD, professor of clinical neuropsychology in the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Sheffield, England, Scientists have found that loss of dopamine may be part of the reason why people with Alzheimer’s disease have less effective memories. When dopamine is sent from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) to the hippocampus, it allows the hippocampus to function. However, if the hippocampus — which is responsible in part for forming new memories — doesn’t receive enough dopamine, the ability to learn new information suffers. This in turn increases the risk of dementia, which is why producing dopamine is so important.

            Once hands and minds become idle, it is easier for dementia and other cognitive impairments to progress. The brain is no longer stimulated. Being creative involves many parts of the brain – like concentration, problem solving, muscle memory, decision making, and attention – all of which keeps the brain functioning at its best. When we take away the ability to create, we take away their ability to preserve their minds. That is why it’s so important to encourage our residents’ creativity.


Sensations prides itself on being a safe facility that specializes in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Each of Sensations’ design elements ensures safety and security for our residents. If you have a loved one who has been diagnosed with dementia and are looking for information, please feel free to call us at (517) 543-8101. Our office hours are Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.