Early Onset Dementia and Art Therapy

by Amy Van Dongen

This is a single case study of a male in his sixties diagnosed with early onset dementia who is living in a senior community care facility. The following research demonstrates how art therapy functions and can benefit this particular population. It explores the participant’s lived experience while in sessions and highlights the value of learning the best ways to work with this population directly from somebody who is dealing with the illness. During the sessions the client expressed helpful ways for working with this population are, limiting the choices of art materials and providing simple colouring pages for apprehensive participants. He also expressed that working in a group setting allows for social interaction. I hope to spark an awareness and understanding of dementia and the role that art therapy plays from the participants’ and families’ point of view.