There are many unique benefits to practicing photography for seniors. Most of us know that there are many positive effects to practicing some type of art or craft. In addition however, it seems that photography has a uniquely special impact on the well-being of the elderly.
This should not be a surprise if you think about it. Photography demands concentration, attention to details, and learning new techniques. Each photo is an expression of one’s self or their view of the world. There are hundreds of testimonials on how photography has helped people overcome their psychological and even physical struggles.
The benefits of photography for seniors
With today’s high quality cell phone cameras and digital SLRs, countless photos are being taken each day for many different reasons and used in different ways. What’s interesting is the fact that people are often unaware of the favor they are doing to their brain while practicing photography. Let’s take a look at the benefits this hobby can bring to seniors.
Learning photography improves memory
You have probably heard many times that it’s important for seniors to keep their mind busy and challenge it in order to keep it healthy. However, researchers state that the point is not just doing any random thing that comes to mind. Seniors need to engage in activities which are mentally challenging and unfamiliar.
Learning how to use a camera and practicing basic photography skills is a perfect match to these requirements. Studies show that older adults who are committed to photography have shown improvements in memory and cognitive abilities after only three months.
Photography demands memorizing camera options. It requires focus and attention to details. If you want to make good photos, you need to think about the composition and visual balance. You have to pay attention to colors and shapes, and try to combine them in a visually pleasing whole.
Photography encourages creativity
As a type of art, photography improves problem-solving skills. You can’t find a single correct answer in photography – there’s a plethora of options you can use to tell a story through photos. Therefore, it encourages creative thinking. It lets you come up with your own solutions.
By forcing you to practice out of the box thinking, photography stimulates your brain to grow new neurons. As photography lets you learn new things each day, it stimulates communication between various parts of the brain. As a result, your brain creates new connections between brain cells. Some studies suggest that intelligence depends on the number of these brain connections.
Photography increases self-esteem
Learning to take good photos provides a sense of accomplishment and increases your self-esteem. You don’t have to become a pro to boost these feelings. It’s enough to pick the latest photos that you like and hang them in your home. It has the same effect as when parents hang their children’s drawings on the refrigerator.
The sole act of creating art increases the neurotransmitter dopamine which is known as “the feel good” or “the motivation” molecule. Dopamine helps your mind focus and concentrate. It stimulates the creation of new neurons that your brain needs for learning new things.
High levels of dopamine help you plan ahead regarding how to achieve your goals in the best and fastest manner. As soon as you accomplish what you have set as your goal, you get that amazing “I did it!” feeling that increases your motivation even more. By increasing your dopamine levels, photography protects your brain from aging and helps you ward off depression.
Taking photos relieves stress
Creating any type of art is the perfect distraction from everyday thoughts that sometimes disturb your peace of mind. As you’re starting your creative endeavor, you’ll instantly feel a state of flow, also known as “being in the zone”.
Art (especially photography) is the best practice for paying attention to the world that surrounds you. It trains you to pay attention to the details in your environment and therefore can have the same effect as meditation.
Photography can lower stress levels and help you keep yourself mentally clear and calm. Moreover, it encourages you to get out and search for motivation and subjects to take photos of. Whether it’s a stroll around your house, your neighborhood, or somewhere in the mountains, photography will unconsciously make you take more walks. And we all know how healthy walks are, especially for seniors.
Photography can ease the negative effects of chronic health conditions
There are millions of people dealing with the stress, anxiety and depression caused by chronic health conditions. Trying to help these people, researchers have discovered that photography, as well as other visual arts and music, have effects on the physical and psychological health of said people.
Photography lowers the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. It gives a sense of achievement and lets people keep the identity they used to have before the illness. As the famous saying goes – one image equals a thousand words – taking photos helps in expressing feelings. By keeping their mind busy, photography helps people forget about their illness for a while.
Photography can help enhance cognitive abilities and memory, even for people with serious brain disorders such as dementia. Studies show that dementia patients derive obvious pleasure from creating visual art. It reduces psychiatric symptoms and improves their social behavior.
Sharing photos with other people can be therapeutic
One of the best things about photography for seniors is that it helps people connect with each other instantly and build empathy. Every time you share a photo with others, you are sharing more than just an image. You are sharing a piece of yourself, your thoughts, your lifestyle, and personality.
Psychologists say that the interaction between people sharing photos often resembles the one of traditional self-help groups. Sharing photos and discussing them with others can help you self-disclose and receive feedback from your family members and friends.
Nowadays, there are numerous options for sharing photos. The plethora of social media platforms allows you to connect with others through photos. However, there are some privacy and security issues you have to be aware of. Identity thieves, burglars and other criminals collecting data about you, your family, and your home are just some of the examples.
Having this in mind, we have created Sherish – an app which offers you all the possible benefits of sharing photos, minus the security threats. Sherish lets you store, organize, and share photos in their original quality, without the world watching.
You can choose a specific audience for each of your photo albums. Even those who don’t use the app will get notified that you want to share a photo with them. You can also add voices to enrich your photos for increased entertainment. Try Sherish today – the best companion in your photography endeavors!