Group Art Therapy with Nursing Home Residents with Dementia: Qualitative Case Studies

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Rickles, Laura
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
Dementia is the leading cause of institutionalization of the elderly population (Takeda, Tanaka, Okochi, & Kazui, 2012). In the nursing home setting, art therapists have the unique opportunity to bridge important components of quality of life for the residents in progressive decline. They can employ cognitively-engaging therapeutic techniques to strengthen and stimulate what neural capacities the residents still possess. This research was aimed at the implementation of the Therapeutic Drawing Series (Del Giacco, 2000), a cognitively stimulating art therapy intervention, with a group of nursing home residents with dementia. The research focused on changes in social behavior and cognitive response from the participants. Through qualitative observations, interviews with facility staff, and participant artwork, the researcher created case studies for two focus group participants where the TDS directive was implemented. The researcher then discussed the results and observed responses that could warrant additional research and experimentation to further show effectiveness in using this technique with this population.