BACP Registered member

Facebook linktwitter linkLinkedin link


Design and hosting by
FrenchDuck Digital


The stressors of getting older, being empathic and art therapy for the elderly

There are many natural stressors we must overcome as we go through life. Purpose, mortality, making decisions and using our personal freedom well. These things, plus various changes outside of our control, become harder to deal with as go through our lives, creating more impact as we age and reaching the highest point in our elderly years.

There are two categories that these changes fall into; physical-biological and psychosocial.

Physical-biological changes incorporate obvious ageing issues, such as greying hair, less mobility and energy, skin changes such as wrinkles and age spots, menopause in women and impotence in men. Although accepted as general and expected changes we will go through as we age, and despite the expectations as such, we still have a hard time dealing with them as they happen to us individually. When something is ‘normal’ or ‘expected’ there can be oversight by those who have not reached that point yet as to just how impactful it is, unless they are going though it themselves. But, these declines have quite an effect, and can contribute to the onset of various mental health issues, like Depression, anxiety and more. Isolation can also become a factor. Memory and internal organs are affected by the ageing process as well, so altogether there is a lot of personal decline that we must deal with.

On top of that we have Psychosocial losses and crises. We hear of our friends’ illnesses, decline or of their passing away. We retire from work and have to find new things to do with our time to create purpose and find reasons to get out of bed in the morning. Our routines change and that can have a major effect on how we view our lives and our future. We become less independent. Recognising we must give up some of our independence can lead to denial and a lot of subsequent stress for some, making it harder for others’ to help us. Then we give in to said outside help and begin the battle with the idea that we are a burden on other people, making us helpless and vulnerable. 

These stressors can also lead to mental health issues.

All in all, ageing is something we cannot control, and our natural reaction is to fight the changes.

Art Therapy has so much to offer for the ageing person. Working in groups creates a new social outlet, a sense of belonging and a purpose. The act of creating art helps self esteem and new ways of thinking, which aids the creation of new brain neurons and helps them to communicate. This process aids general memory as well. (as told on

The art therapist helps a person to create something that shows how they are feeling, which takes the pressure off just talking about their issues, and creates a new way to express themselves. This is done carefully, and within the capabilities of the patient, so as to promote positivity about what they can do rather than adding or highlighting something more that they cannot do. The process motivates and creates mindful concentration which can stop a person from over thinking or catastrophising. And by promoting memories and reminiscing, the patient is reminded of just how much they have done and achieved in their lives thus far.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.