Seniors and Art Therapy

dstricoff February 27th, 2013, 3:30 PM
Debbie Stricoff, Dir., Adult Day Care Services
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Art therapy has such a positive effect on our seniors and we see the benefits every day. It gives many a way to express themselves and for others, it unleashes new talents. Some of our seniors have never had the time or opportunity; while others may have been intimidated to try. At the VNSNY CHOICE Adult Day Center (, the seniors feel comfortable trying something new–and the results have been amazing.      

Our Activities Coordinator is an art therapist and through her encouragement and creativity, art has flourished at the Center. Our seniors create beautiful artwork using a wide variety of modalities, including painting, drawing, collage and sculpting.        

We’ve also been lucky enough to have someone from the Museum of Modern Art come to the Center to lead art classes in our dementia program. The instructor led an art history discussion coupled with reminiscence therapy and painting. Working with our higher functioning members, she showed the seniors a photo of a Picasso painting and asked them to describe what the picture meant to them. After the discussion, they created paintings based on their interpretation of Picasso. The next time she came, she worked with our lower functioning members and they made collages. The MOMA staff are very skilled at finding ways to help the members relate to art, regardless of their level of impairment.     

Not only does creating art for themselves and their loved ones help seniors feel productive and improve self-esteem, but it also increases opportunities for socialization and connection with other members. As Mr. A., one of our seniors, told us: “Art makes my life beautiful.”


  • It is nice to know that people living in Manhattan can also get the visiting nurse service at time. Great job VNSNY.
    new york home care

  • Hi,
    I thought Debbie Stricoff might be interested in this art therapy toolkit for older adults developed by the American Art Therapy Association.
    Julia Connell

  • Thanks so much Julia! This is a great resource that we will make good use of!

  • Thanks! We’re glad to be there for you!

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