Are you looking for fun and exciting ways to let your favorite seniors spend their free time? Well, you’ve come to the right place as we have tons of suggested crafts for the elderly, which will keep their hands busy, their imaginations fertile, and their time occupied. Remember, no one is immune to the magic of crafting from toddlers to seniors.
But perhaps, this craft is more appreciated during the twilight years of old age as nostalgic feelings set in. In this fast-paced, digital world where everything is instant, there’s something more poignant about a handcrafted, artisanal piece you make with your own hands.
In fact, it is common for every family to have an heirloom piece, like a sweater knitted by grandma or a blanket crocheted by her loving fingers. As people age, mobility becomes impaired, but thankfully, crafting is one of those few hobbies that our beloved seniors can continue to cultivate and participate in. Beyond the feelings of nostalgia, it can help pass the time and offer so many health benefits for people who are advanced in their years.
The Perks of Engaging in Crafting for Seniors
Though crafting is surely not on your elderly loved ones’ prescribed list of maintenance medications, it is an activity that can benefit their health. Studies show that the act of creating something fostered by the imagination does seniors a whole world of good. Many advantages are inextricably linked with each other. Look at the following health benefits of crafting below:
- Boost cognitive ability as the imagination gets stimulated.
- Offers pain relief in arthritic fingers and joints.
- Reduces stress as the mind is productive and occupied.
- Strengthens the immune system as seniors feel happy and not depressed.
- Promotes a decrease in blood pressure because of good vibes.
- Amplifies their coordination and motor skills.
Clearly, crafting is something we should ask our seniors to do whether we watch them at home or when we visit them in their nursing facilities. Apart from positively influencing seniors’ health, crafting can also improve the mood and health of the caregivers. Above all, crafting is an activity that seniors and caregivers can enjoy together.
Top 6 Crafting Projects for the Elderly
When you research, you will realize that there are so many crafts to do with your loved one whether they reside alone, with you, or in an adult community. The sky’s not the limit with a robust imagination. With each activity promoting wellness benefits, we should encourage our seniors to partake in crafts by providing the materials.
However, you must remember eye problems or arthritis can inhibit your loved ones’ movements. Hence, you need to be there to offer support in case they need help. If you are on the lookout for crafting projects to keep your senior busy, look at the following tested ones below:
1. Inspire Nimble Fingers to Knit and Crochet
When you encourage your seniors to pick up yarn for their knitting and crocheting projects, you improve their mood. One study shows that 81% of people agree to feel happy after they knit. Additionally, those who feel depressed elevate their mood when they engage their fingers with knitting needles or crochet hooks. Apart from that, both hobbies improve cognitive function in seniors while enhancing finger coordination and agility.
You can expect an improvement in visual-spatial assessment and hand-eye rhythm as the seniors focus on each stroke while doing their projects. Sadly, both elements decrease as people age. If not cultivated, these skills will continue to decline. Thankfully, you can improve through knitting and crocheting. Remember, most seniors already know how to do these activities. And if they need a refresher course or a crash intro course, you can find many tutorials online or books to help them learn.
The key to success is starting with simple projects so they feel more inspired to continue until they finish something. Besides, it is not the project’s scale but the skills they hone as they do it that matters. Whether you ask grams or gramps to knit a bonnet, crochet a coaster, or make a blanket, they will all garner the same health and wellness benefits.
2. Promote the Fine Art of Decoupage
This crafting project’s beauty is it can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. Hence, it is perfectly suitable for any age, possessing various levels of crafting skills. Decoupage allows you to turn an ordinary thing into something extraordinary. For example, you can turn a normal bottle into an artwork by pasting various cutouts onto its body. You can use your homemade cornstarch glue or try store-bought adhesives.
Noteworthy, many decoupage artisans use the concept of upcycling in their projects. This means using materials like gift wrapping papers, cardboard boxes, or even plastic containers to make stunning projects. This crafting idea is also helpful for mother earth as it allows everyone to reuse and recycle materials into stunning artworks.
Because decoupage requires cutting, pasting, and designing, it will exercise our elderly loved ones’ fine motor skills. You may also see an improvement in dexterity. After all, your senior is tasked to rip tiny pieces of paper with fingers or via scissors. This repetitive action stimulates both the muscles and brain to work in synchrony. More than that, focusing on a project assures that your senior can forget about problems. Pasting the colorful and vibrant papers stimulate happy feelings in the brain and improves cognition.
3. Encourage Painting a Masterpiece
If a two-year-old can finger paint, so can the seniors in our lives. The beauty of painting is that it allows self-expression. There is no right or wrong way to get things done. You can choose from many different styles of painting from classic watercolor to modern cubism. You can vary the materials by using traditional paper, painting on rocks, or designing a plate. You can let your creative juices flow and try different media such as watercolor, acrylic, pastel, watercolor pencils, and more. If dementia is an issue, buy non-toxic materials.
To keep your seniors excited:
- Involve them in planning.
- Ask them what painting style they would like to mimic.
- Bring them along with you when you choose color palettes and buy the materials.
It will make them more motivated to bring out their inner Leonardo Da Vinci. Best of all, you can bring them out of their nursing home for an outing in the park to paint scenery from what they see. If your seniors don’t feel like painting something from scratch, add a splash of the rainbow into their lives by buying adult coloring books with mandalas and other intricate patterns.
Studies say that painting is a top stress reducer. Making repeated, gentle strokes with a paintbrush has the power to calm the mind. Researchers say that doing these repetitive movements urge the brain to release serotonin. This hormone calms the mind and boosts happy feelings. If your senior is feeling depressed, picking up a paintbrush will turn that frown into a smile.
Moreover, the act of picking colors and designing patterns also promotes focus. By encouraging this crafting activity, you will help your beloved seniors to practice mindfulness. When they are intentional and conscious of their surroundings, they tend to forget aches and pain. At the same time, stimulating the mind can improve their memory.
4. Go Down Memory Lane with Scrapbook Making
In a world full of digital pictures, you can help your seniors relive the glory days of their youth with scrapbooking. Print important photographs, collect memorabilia, pick quotes, and arrange stickers to make their traditional scrapbooks. This fun activity will jolt memories of their happy past. This nostalgic activity can remind them of the wonderful blessings and milestones in their lives.
Though it may seem like pasting stuff on albums, do not underestimate this craft. It is touted for decreasing anxiety. That’s not surprising at all because working with old pictures and memorabilia spark memory sensors that remind seniors of good times. It will certainly foster a strong sense of identity by reminding them of the things they once loved and enjoyed.
This activity can even improve our beloved seniors’ self-esteem as they are reminded that a lot of people love them. Through this newfound confidence, they become more adept at handling stressful situations. Additionally, happy feelings assure better immunity which protects against heart disease and other illnesses.
Remember, scrapbooking is a craft that your seniors can enjoy by their lonesome or with other people. In fact, why not set up a scrapbooking date where they can share stickers, papers, and embellishments. Doing it with others, promote socialization, encourage communication, and foster camaraderie. Help them out by providing sturdy scrapbooks, adhesives, and other decorative materials.
Encourage the seniors to think of a theme, or you can challenge them by providing one. After all, this crafting idea is also a form of self-expression so remind your beloved seniors to unleash their creative juices. You can also tie it up with another crafting project such as digital photography by printing the pictures they took and then make an album out of them.
Make Fashionable and Functional Jewelry
No one needs a degree from the Gemological Institute of America to create fancy accessories. Buy materials for your seniors and encourage them to make bead bracelets, fun necklaces, and even earrings. Simple bead jewelry making can be done easily by everyone. All you need are simple and affordable materials from a craft shop.
Though the finished products look amazing, there are limited skills required for putting bead pieces together. Males and females will surely enjoy this fun activity as they can make one for themselves or their loved ones as gifts. Jewelry making stimulates the imagination as they develop their own designs with various bead textures, patterns, and colors.
Even seniors who have diminished fine motor skills can ask someone to piece the jewelry on their behalf. In the end, it can still be considered as their own work of art. The creative process of conceptualizing the design improves cognitive function and prompts positive neurological responses. As this activity keeps seniors occupied, you can count on it to lower their anxiety, stress, and depression levels. Since they need to focus on little beads, it fosters focus and promotes mindfulness which exercises their mental health.
6. Promote Stitching Treasures that Last
Though some shy away from making sewing projects because needles are tiny, you can still consider this project if your beloved senior shows interest. Make sure you do the projects in a well-lit area to avoid accidents. Whether stitching with a machine or doing it by hand, doing these handmade crafts will boost your seniors’ confidence level. It makes them feel good to create something functional for themselves or their loved ones. You can encourage them to make the following:
- Throw Pillows: Make personalized covers for their sofa or as gifts. They can attach trims like tassels or lace edges.
- Dish Cloth: This is super easy to make and often need single stitching to complete the project. Best of all, it is functional as everyone dries their dishes daily.
- Memory Quilt: If your senior is up for a challenge, repurpose old shirts, baby blankets, dresses, and uniforms into a memory quilt. This blanket provides both warmth and a touch of sentimentality.
- Wall Art: You can also buy materials for cross stitching or other embroidery patterns. When the project is done, have this framed to be hung on the wall.
Final Wrap Up
As you can see, there are many fun ways to keep your seniors busy with crafting projects that keep their hands occupied, their minds focused, and their creativity flourish. Crafting activities improve their fine motor skills, alleviate stress, boost the mood, and pave the way for social interactions. If you need suggestions, get in touch with our Lakeside Manor team to help you plan activities.
Remember, making crafts does not only foster creativity, but it also stimulates the brain, which improves cognitive and memory function. Even seniors with physical limitations can find joy in crafting. With affordable supplies and a touch of imagination, anyone can get started with their crafting project.