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Arts therapy is a veritable gold mine of relief and joy for many, especially senior citizens, with benefits not just for those suffering the neurocognitive disorders that can come with aging, but for those coping with feelings of isolation or depression.
“Alzheimer’s (and) different types of neurocognitive diseases affect more the left hemisphere (of the brain),” says Robert Whiteside, creative arts therapist at Jewish Senior Life’s Jewish Home of Rochester. “We find the right hemisphere, many times, is stimulated by the creative process, music, the arts, dance.
“Such things in many people are still very much intact. If you’ve had the opportunity to see the movie ‘Still Alice,’ you’ll see that even though a person seems like they’re an empty shell, there’s really quite a bit of life left in them,” Whiteside says.