Art therapy reduces the risk of dementia…

The working areas of occupational therapy include the whole of activities in the daily life of people. Stating that occupational therapists can apply to art therapy when it is necessary, experts say that occupational therapists aim to increase participation in the activity: to increase the differences in one's life: to improve health and to reduce the effects of negative experiences. Asst. Prof. İsa Kör emphasized that art therapy reduces the risk of developing dementia in elderly individuals, and pointed out that tools such as puppets and paintings also provide positive effects.

It is aimed to increase the awareness in life with Occupational Therapy

World Occupational Therapists Day is celebrated on October 27 every year under the leadership of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT).

Üsküdar University, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Occupational Therapy Asst. Prof. İsa Kör mentioned the harmonious relationship between art therapy and occupational therapy and the benefits they provide.

A person's roles are lost when activities are reduced.

Stating that the work areas of occupational therapy cover all of the activities of people in their daily life Occupational therapist İsa Kör said: “We can define occupational therapy as the active participation of the individual in self-care, work, leisure time and play. Moreover, activity can be defined as anything that people engage in, such as self-care, enjoying life, contributing to social and economic environments. Individuals have a role in life. On the other hand, these roles may differ at any age and with each change of environment. With the deterioration of health, a decrease can be seen in the participation of the person in activities. A decrease in activity participation can lead to the loss of roles in a person's life. While the loss of roles leads to changes in the person's expectations in life, devastations related to the deterioration of health depending on the loss of activity can be seen in the person. The individual may encounter situations such as feeling worthless, living dependent on someone, not being able to perform daily activities, and living bedridden.”.

The first target is people with psychological disorders…

Occupational therapist İsa Kör said that occupational therapists can apply to art therapy to reduce the effect of negative experiences on the person, to increase participation in activities, to increase the changes in one's life, to create routines, to promote health improvement, and to ensure well-being. He continued:

 “We can base art therapy on the idea that expressing a person's feelings and thoughts is non-verbal, therapeutic and life-enhancing in the artistic creation process. The target of art therapy is primarily people with psychological disorders. The population of this therapy has subsequently expanded to individuals with difficulties in daily life such as children, adolescents, the elderly, individuals with learning and adjustment difficulties, autism spectrum disorder, history of abuse, experience of a loss or natural disaster. Art therapy supports people who struggle with stress or self-awareness and have pressure that leads to personal difficulties. Today, art therapy can be considered not only as a therapeutic approach, but also as a developmental practice in which individuals or groups discover their potential and solve some social problems. At this point, the joint work of art therapy and occupational therapy in supporting individuals with special needs draws attention.”.

Puppet is an important tool in therapy

Stating that puppets are one of the tools used in art therapy, occupational therapist İsa Kör said: “Puppet is a metaphorical expression in art therapy. It is a fun option not only for the therapist but also for the child for interaction with children who have difficulty in using verbal language in occupational therapist consultations in ways such as drawing, clay molding etc. In addition, the use of puppetry instead of speaking directly may help the child to have less hostile and threatening thoughts compared to speaking.”.

Paints can have a positive effect

Stating that materials such as pencils, crayons, collage materials, sequin, brushes, clay and watercolor paints, oil paints and pastel paints can be used in art works, occupational therapist İsa Kör said, “The harmony that is tried to be created depending on the use of materials can be described as the expression of the person. There are also studies on the positive effect of paints on long-term memory after traumatic events. It has been observed that especially fluid paints encourage relaxation and meditative experiences in the individual. It has been determined that the paints and clay used while working with children with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder have important effects on the development of executive functions such as self-regulation, self-control and planning. Occupational therapist's inclusion of art works can enable the individual to use time efficiently, meaningfully and valuable.”.

They work especially in the field of pediatrics.

Occupational therapist İsa Kör emphasized that when considering art therapy and occupational therapy together, it should not be forgotten that they focus on different aspects and said:

“The occupational therapist can pre-determine the points that the individual may avoid, not want to touch, might put in their mouth, and pose a danger to themselves during the art activities. Different fields of art might be preferred according to the field the individual has a lack of skill. Occupational therapists are working especially in the field of pediatrics in our country. Disadvantaged groups such as those with autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, specific learning disability, down syndrome and cerebral palsy observed in children are frequently encountered here. Since the occupational therapist will handle each individual according to their own interests and personal characteristics, different practices can be applied to two different individuals with learning difficulties in their artistic work. Therefore, occupational therapists may not find it appropriate to use a certain art material in the disadvantaged group. In addition to evaluating each group within itself, they adopt a personalized approach by targeting an individual approach. However, the importance of the interaction in social relations in the environment where the artistic work is done should not be overlooked. In group work, it is possible to see improvements in the social skills of individuals who interact with artistic works.”

They aim to increase activity participation

Occupational therapist İsa Kör stated that one of the main purposes of occupational therapists using art activities in individuals with psychological disorders is that they want to increase their participation in activities as well as making the person feel good. Kör said “A decrease can be seen in psychological disorders with daily routines. Individuals may encounter problems in planning, organization, initiating, maintaining and ending the activity. Here, it is aimed to increase the diversity of activities in daily life. For example, activities such as painting, clay, dance and music provide support in different aspects. On the other hand, occupational therapists can support the interaction in their work by including artistic works in the activities at the point where the individual tend to.” said.

It reduces the risk of dementia

Indicating that art therapy may be needed to strengthen cognitive skills such as memory and attention and to increase physical mobility in geriatric individuals, occupational therapist İsa Kör said “Art requires using various skills such as abstract thinking, judgment and memory. The effect of art is incredible in reducing the risk of developing dementia in elderly individuals. Using cognition through the art can transform into independent functions in the elderly population who benefit from most rehabilitation services.”.

Occupational therapists focus on the individual's well-being

Occupational therapist İsa Kör said "While occupational therapists can use art as a tool, they do not progress with only art therapy in their consultations" and continued:

“Music, painting, clay, dance activities may be in the consultation, however, they do not focus on the development of individuals on the mentioned activities and the way they express themselves through artistic works. The aim of the occupational therapist is to diversify, improve and change the activities of the person's daily life. While doing these, it focuses on the well-being of the individual. It supports the life of the individual by identifying activities according to the person's lost abilities, aiming to improve the person's skills, restore them and prevent losses.

Üsküdar News Agency (ÜNA)