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.
Here are several holiday crafts for seniors that are fairly easy to do and produce useful, festive results.
- Felted Acorns
Start with some simple acorns and end up with a colorful decoration everyone can enjoy. In October and November, these can be decorated in the traditional fall colors. As you near Christmas, you can switch to red and green. Or you can just let everyone pick their favorite colors as they go.
- Fall Foliage Candleholders
Colorful fall leaves are one of nature’s best decorations. This craft starts with an excuse to get outside and collect some of the most beautiful leaves around, and then gives seniors the chance to turn them into crafts that will let their beauty continue to shine in the months to come.
- Christmas Candy Containers
Having candy available for visitors and friends is a familiar holiday tradition for many. With this craft the presentation can become that much more impressive. These containers, made to look like classic gumball machines, can be used to hold peppermints, gumdrops, or any sugarless candy that’s recommended for the seniors in your facility.
- Homemade Heating Pads
Any time you’re faced with aches and pains, heat is a trusty solution. These heating pads are very easy to make and can be made properly festive by choosing a towel with a holiday-themed decoration on it. They make great gifts, or can be something useful to keep around for yourself.
- Homemade Christmas Cards
Cards may seem old fashioned these days with so many people switching to email, but if you give your Christmas cards a personal touch, friends and family are that much more likely to appreciate them.
- Waterless Snow Globes
Making water-filled snow globes is probably pretty tricky, but these waterless ones are much easier and still accomplish the same goal. They’re lovely and give a great taste of the season.
- Cookie Cutter Ornaments
Start with cookie cutters and then think creatively about how best to decorate them to make them more personal. You can add colors and design or fill them with pictures of beloved family members. Whatever direction you go in, they’ll make a great addition to the Christmas tree.
- A Christmas Bow Wreath
What do you get when you combine two familiar Christmas symbols? This fun Christmas wreath made out of gift bows. It’s simple to put together and makes for a nice Christmas decoration.
- Bowtie Pasta Garland
The ingredients are cheap, but the results are festive. Decorate some bowtie pasta and string it up to make an inspired holiday decoration. It can go on the Christmas tree, or add some decoration to the walls or windows.
Crafts aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for your residents that love an opportunity to create something, these can definitely brighten the holiday season!