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Comfort Keepers provides award-winning in-home care for seniors and other adults in need of assistance with daily activities. Our highly trained and dedicated caregivers can help your loved one stay in their home for as long as safely possible—a dream come true for many elders.

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Uplifting In-Home Care Services for Seniors & Other Adults Right Where You Need It. Comfort Keepers Peterborough, ON provides in home care services and senior care in the following cities in Ontario: Peterborough

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The Benefits Of Crafting For Seniors: Brain-Boosting, Mood-Enhancing Crafts To Improve Your Senior Loved-One’s Quality Of Life

Blog  |  March 7, 2022

Getting Creative Gives Seniors A Boost.

Cozy socks and dishcloths are great. But, did you know supporting your grandma’s crafting habit has real health benefits? Crafting adds to a senior’s quality of life. For many, it’s a simple source of pride, purpose and joy. And the benefits don’t stop there.

If your elderly family member is interested in crafting or getting creative, great! It’s a hobby that should definitely be encouraged. There are dozens of arts and crafts to choose from based on ability and personal interest. The materials for many creative practices are accessible and affordable.

What’s even more interesting is that studies show that crafting is good for a senior’s emotional and cognitive health. Being creative stimulates the brain. It increases focus, is a mood-booster and can even help to slow the progress of memory loss and other cognitive conditions.

Not sure which brain-boosting and mood-enhancing activities to suggest to your senior loved one? Read on to learn more about the benefits of crafting for seniors–and for suggestions to get you and your senior loved one started.

Scrapbooking materials including thread, pencils and decoupage on a table

The Benefits Of Crafting For Seniors.

As seniors get older, they run a higher risk of experiencing challenges to their emotional and cognitive health. Crafting offers an interesting and enjoyable solution! A creative hobby stimulates the brain and encourages self-reflection and expression. There are many benefits to crafting for seniors.

Seniors Who Craft Experience Less Depression And More Joy

As seniors get older, it’s not uncommon to feel a lack of purpose and identity. Without a career or busy household to care for, it’s easy to feel lost. These feelings leave seniors vulnerable to depression and anxiety.

When a senior takes up a creative hobby, it does more than pass time. It contributes to their emotional health, too. Crafting can help to give life a sense of forward momentum. In fact, studies have shown that engaging in arts and crafts helps to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.

  • Seniors who practice their art or craft regularly will improve their skills and benefit from a sense of accomplishment.
  • Finding a creative outlet gives seniors a chance to express themselves and redefine their personal identity.
  • Many creative hobbies are intertwined with memories of childhood. For some seniors, picking up a once loved art or craft and learning it again as a senior adult can be comforting and even therapeutic.

Crafting Boosts A Senior’s Brain

Whether it’s improving the skills they already have or trying something new, crafting is a brain-boosting activity for seniors. Different crafts stimulate different parts of the brain and provide an enjoyable mental workout.

  • Getting creative helps with focus and concentration.
  • Crafting promotes problem-solving and critical thinking.
  • Memory formation and retrieval are facilitated when seniors get creative.
  • Enjoying arts and crafts can slow the progress of and even improve dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Some experts believe that crafting and other creative or leisure activities can lower the chances of developing “a cognitive impairment” by up to 50%.

Senior woman taking pottery lesson from a man using pottery wheel

5 Crafts For Seniors To  Elevate The Spirit And Nurture A Healthy Brain

If you have a senior loved one in your life and think they might like to try their hand at a new creative activity, try one of the following arts and crafts.

    1. Painting or colouring: Whether you take a class, buy an adult colouring book or follow along with Bob Ross on Netflix, anyone can colour and paint. This type of creative expression is meditative and deeply relaxes the mind. And with many different mediums to choose from (paints, pastels, pencil crayons, etc…) there’s something for everyone! Grab a canvas, a notebook or a rock from your garden and get creative. 
    2. Decoupage or collage: Create something beautiful by cutting out and assembling pieces of fabric, magazine clippings or family photos. The process of cutting, sorting, and arranging the elements into a final work of art is very mentally stimulating. All of the visual imagery can trigger memories and is especially helpful for seniors living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. 
    3. Sculpting with clay:  Working with clay has therapeutic effects. It’s a tactile craft that can help seniors release energy and tension. Working with clay —whether you’re sculpting, slab building, or using a pottery wheel—helps to develop cognitive skills and promotes problem-solving and self-expression. Crafting with clay is a great option for a senior who enjoys creating things that are useful as well as beautiful. 
    4. Knitting and crocheting: Knitting and crocheting are proven mood boosters.  A study published in The British Journal of Occupational Therapy found that 81% of respondents felt happier after knitting. The same study also linked knitting with lower rates of depression and increased happiness. 
    5. Model trains: Building model trains might not be what you’d typically call a “craft”—but it is a creative hobby with many cognitive and emotional benefits for seniors. From planning the scene to assembling the tracks, building model railway systems is a very enjoyable brain workout for seniors. In many cases, For many older adults, trains hold a lot of nostalgic significance. That makes this creative pastime a great choice for seniors who need help developing their ability to make and recall memories. 

How To Help A Senior Enjoy Arts And Crafts

Many seniors already spend time working on handicrafts. But, as they age, the loss of manual dexterity and mental clarity can make it hard to enjoy hobbies independently. Seniors often need the support and companionship of a loved one or caregiver to keep engaging with the crafting activities they love—or to try something new. 

As a family caregiver, spending time doing arts and crafts with your senior loved one is a wonderful way to nurture their health and happiness. The social connection is good for both the emotional and cognitive health of an older adult which makes crafting with seniors a big win!  

Not everyone is creatively inclined. And that’s O.K. So, if you have a senior loved one looking to flex their creative muscles and try a new crafting activity you can support them by helping them find a friend, group or companion caregiver to spend time with. The in-home caregivers here at Comfort Keepers, for example, love crafting with seniors and can include creative time in their regular home visits. 

Crafting Contributes To The Health And Happiness Of Seniors. 

Getting creative is good for a senior’s emotional and cognitive health. Crafting has been shown to have an overall positive effect on people of all ages—and seniors are no exception. Whether a senior adult is living at home or in a retirement residence, spending time pursuing arts and crafts will lift their mood, foster a sense of purpose and personal identity, and contribute to a healthy and active mind. All in all, crafting adds to a senior’s quality of life. 

If you’re looking for a simple but significant way to spend time with an elderly loved one, why not invite them to join you in getting creative. Crafting is a sure-fire way to bring a little joy to your day—and that’s something every senior deserves.

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