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If you thought arts and crafts activities were just for children, think again. Crafting is a hobby that people of all ages can enjoy, especially senior citizens. Besides providing an activity to keep busy, there are also health benefits that come along with crafting.

Health Benefits of Crafting

When you’re crafting, you’re creating and when you’re creating you’re using your mind. That’s why crafting has cognitive benefits for senior citizens. Seniors who knit for example, have to follow a pattern or perhaps are creating a pattern of their own. This stimulates different parts of the brain. In fact, researchers say activities like crafting can reduce a person’s chance of developing mild cognitive impairment by as much as 30 to 50 percent.

  • Crafting is often used as a source of art therapy for those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Crafting lessens a patient’s anxiety, reduces feelings of isolation and brings about a general feeling of happiness. If some seniors with dementia choose to paint or color as their craft it can also bring them back to happy memories when they were children and may have enjoyed the same activities.
  • Crafting can also help battle depression. Studies have shown that a simple activity like painting or knitting can allow the brain to release dopamine which serves as a natural anti-depressant within the body. These feel good non-medicinal chemicals are beneficial for seniors and anyone at any age who may be dealing with depression.
  • Crafting can help build confidence and give seniors a sense of purpose. Being able to complete a project helps people feel like they can accomplish things. This is extremely beneficial for seniors who may feel like they can’t do the same things they once did.
  • Crafting can also bring seniors together. It’s never too late to form friendships. Finding people who share the same interests, like painting or quilting, will foster a feeling of togetherness.

Crafts for Seniors in Assisted Living

Many senior living facilities acknowledge the benefits of crafting for seniors and incorporate them in the activities they offer. Even something as simple as coloring for seniors can help with dexterity and motor skills. Research has showed that when an adult colors a pattern they can actually be taken into a meditative state. Some facilities incorporate music into their craft programs for an added benefit.

Arts and crafts activities seniors can take part in vary from facility to facility. Here are some general crafting activities that are often offered:

  • Knitting
  • Sewing
  • Coloring
  • Ceramics Class
  • Painting
  • Collages

If you are looking for a specific craft activity to take part in be sure to ask if it is offered. If it isn’t many places will make every effort to add it to their program if possible.

Crafting Ideas for Seniors

If you’re a senior who lives at home and is looking for arts and crafts activities you can do at home, the internet is full of easy ideas. Here are some popular ones we found while surfing the web.

  • Rock Crafts. There are dozens of crafts that can be done by simply adding beads and jewels to rocks. These make great decorations and are easy for anyone to do.
  • Watercolor Luminaries. All you need here is a jar, white coffee filters, and watercolor paints to get this project going. Check out the instructions here.
  • Photo Cubes. This is a great way to keep memories alive. Take some old pictures and some supplies from the arts and crafts store and you’ll be on your way to creating photo cubes. Besides an easy craft idea, this is also a great gift idea for anyone looking to make a sentimental gift.
  • Lavender Pillow. Lavender has many relaxing benefits. A lavender pillow is easy to make and can be used while sleeping at night or as hand warmers.
  • Chocolate Crafts. Who said crafts can’t be edible? There are several chocolate-covered crafts that are easy to do and taste great!

There are dozens of other craft ideas for seniors. Find an area that interests you or your loved one and you will be sure to find a fun crafting project.

Written By

Jeff Hoyt

Editor in Chief

Since graduating from Harvard with an honors degree in Statistics, Jeff has been creating content in print, online, and on television. Much of his work has been dedicated to informing seniors on how to live better lives. As Editor-in-Chief of the personal… Learn More About Jeff Hoyt