Arts and crafts can be more than just a fun recreational activity for seniors: as The Assisted Living Federation of America and the American Art Therapy Association explain, art therapy allows older adults to work through their psychological issues more readily than traditional talk therapy. Other benefits of art therapy include improvement in interpersonal and social skills, communication, cooperation, and self-esteem.
Art therapy is particularly beneficial for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. As Dr. Daniel Potts, a neurologist and dementia specialist, explained to Medical Daily, art therapy “enables an individual who is having trouble communicating to bypass the language problems they may be having and communicate and express themselves in a different way.”
Arts and Crafts Projects for Older Adults
Looking for artistic activities for yourself or your loved one? Here are some of our own residents’ favorite creative projects to dive into:
- Mandala Coloring
Traditionally used in Indian spiritual traditions as a way to aid mediation, mandalas have become increasingly popular in the United States as both a creative activity and a way to help manage stress.
How do you use a mandala? Simply grab your favorite colored pencils and start filling in the many lines, circles and other shapes included in your mandala. Mandalas are generally more complex in design than other coloring templates, allowing the artist to get sucked into a creative process that requires great concentration.
Ready to try out mandala coloring? You can visit printmandala.com to print free mandalas.
- Clay Sculpting
Clay sculpting is a popular activity for seniors. We love clay sculpting because even seniors with limited dexterity can enjoy sculpting.
With a seemingly unlimited number of shapes that polymer clay can be molded into, older adults are able to let their creativity run free when they sculpt. Looking for a bit more direction? Try sculpting vases, picture frames or even holiday ornaments.
Visit sculpey.com for more project ideas and techniques for working with clay.
Much like sculpting, painting allows artists to freely express themselves. Although some adults don’t need more than the freedom of a blank canvas to inspire them, others may need a push to help them create their own masterpiece.
If you’re looking for inspiration for yourself or your loved one, try one of these time-tested options:
- Set up a still life scene on a table to reference as they paint. You may choose to include items such as flowers and fruit in your still life scene.
- Encourage the painter to try to visually express the emotions they are currently feeling.
- Let your inner Bob Ross shine with a nature scene including mountains, trees and water.
With so many arts and crafts projects for older adults to enjoy, it can be easy to get caught up trying to pick the perfect one. Our advice? Dabble with many different creative outlets until you find one you find yourself getting excited about. After all, the best art is any art that you enjoy creating.
Expressive Art Projects for Senior Citizens via eHow
Easy Crafts for Seniors via Love To Know
Pottery wheel image by JamesDeMers, modified, licensed CC0 Public Domain via Pixabay