Exploring Art as a Senior: The Many Benefits of Crafting for the Elderly

Approximately 8.5% or 617 million of the global population is over the age of 65, and that’s growing at an unprecedented rate. Based on current projections that number is expected to expand to 17% or 1.6 billion of the global population by the year 2050. As the next wave of senior-aged baby boomers hits the Western hemisphere, concerns arise regarding their health, happiness, and the quality of their golden years.

Modern technology enters the ring here by providing simple solutions with the aid of coloring therapy apps and mandalas found on Apalon Apps for Android. But how can online coloring help boost the quality of life for our aged loved ones?

Art Projects Spark Internal Creativity and Imagination

If you’ve ever seen little kids coloring, you’ve likely marveled at how they see the world. Art is subjective. A unicorn might be green and the grass may end up being pink once the creations are completed. Extra characters often appear on the page, including family members, pets or wild animals, and aliens. Suddenly, an entire story involving royalty and alternate dimensions has arisen from a blank page or the outline of a kitten.

Adult coloring benefits the fully developed mind in a similar way. However, as we’re more focused and trained with color and texture, mandalas and preset shapes encourage the well-used mind to rely on life experiences as inspiration. Seniors already have a lifetime’s worth of experience, so the creativity and imagination can be completely off the charts. While that’s a wonderful bonus on its own, there are so many other benefits of crafting for the elderly.

Art Therapy Improves Mental Function for Dementia Patients

Elderly patients with dementia often suffer as they struggle to regain mental clarity and recall previous life facts. Such struggles can lead to anxiety, aggression, insomnia, and even heart complications. Creating visual art forces the creative and cognitive sides of the brain to work together. Meditative qualities formed via art and color concentration reduce stress, improve focus and actually help balance the neurotransmitters of the brain. Research has shown a positive connection between senior craft activity and reduced symptoms of dementia, so art therapy isn’t just an option for continued happiness throughout the golden years. It’s often a requirement.

Senior Coloring Greatly Improves Health, Abilities, and Quality of Life

The simple act of coloring may be the closest thing to a magic pill for many older adults. The dual brain activity leads to stress release, reduced agitation, improved moods, and mindfulness when full attention and concentration are applied. Physically, coloring or (any craft creation) acts as an outlet for self-expression, improves coordination and dexterity, and helps maintain motor skills. Coloring and crafts can be completed individually or in a group setting, and artistic activities are great opportunities to involve younger generations. So while coloring can provide seniors with a personal sense of accomplishment, it can also improve socialization, encourage bonding, and help the senior recall life stories and memories through effortless and uninterrupted reminiscing.

Crafts and Coloring Hobbies Can Lead to a Late-Life Business

Results of a recent retirement study in America disclosed that only 60% of American workers feel secure about a comfortable retirement. Almost 40% believe they’ll need at least $1 million to retire stress-free, but many baby boomers have less than $25,000 saved towards their golden years if anything at all. Creative sparks found through art therapy, crafts, and coloring can produce an unexpected benefit during the later years. The newfound creativity can actually help seniors discover a new lease on life via a new business venture. The sparks can open doors to a graphic design business, artistic sales, app production, and even online franchise options.

David Morton is an art therapist who most recently has been visiting eldercare facilities with his art supplies to get the creativity flowing through the older generation once more.

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  1. Posted April 25, 2017 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the inspiring article. Can you elaborate on this bit – “Research has shown a positive connection between senior craft activity and reduced symptoms of dementia”? Which research study did it cover? -Nicky

  2. Posted September 27, 2017 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    Hi David!
    Art projects are certainly great, especially for seniors. It helps with boosting mood, preventing loneliness, keeping mental illnesses at bay, and most importantly, seniors can sell their arts and crafts projects to make money. In fact, my grandma used to sell her paintings to have some extra cash in hand.

  3. Posted December 29, 2017 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    Expressing creativity through art is important to many seniors. It helps take up some of the time from the day. It can also be part of a group activity so it even becomes a social function. With so many adult coloring books available today, you are sure to find something that your senior loved one is interested in. There are even “chunky” coloring pencils available for senior adults with arthritis so that they can participate too. Great summary. Thanks again.

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