How Creative Pursuits Promote Healthy Aging

Sunrise Senior Living  |  January 2, 2020
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Creative pursuits are a healthy form of self-expression. They offer people a way to connect with their innermost joys and fears. This is why you will find art therapy activities happening in a variety of health-related settings. Hospice agencies, dementia care communities, and hospitals all host creativity workshops for their residents and patients.

While some people may not consider themselves to be particularly artistic, researchers say it is the process of creating, not the final result, that promotes better health. By engaging in even the simplest creative activities you can improve your mental and physical well-being.

Here are a few of the rewards that can result from engaging in artistic endeavors:

  • Increases happiness
  • Decreases depression
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Boosts the immune system

In honor of National Creativity Month, we are sharing a few ideas for easy art projects caregivers and seniors can enjoy together.

At-Home Art Projects for Caregivers and Seniors

  • Make paper flowers: This popular activity is fun for several generations of the family to enjoy together. They make a colorful addition to almost any room during the cold months of the year. You can make paper flowers as simple—or complex—as you choose. Sites like The Spruce Crafts and YouTube have a variety of easy-to-follow tutorials.
  • Create greeting cards: Another creative project to consider is making greeting cards. From valentines to birthday wishes, you’ll have a wide range of options. Most craft stores sell kits for making stamped greeting cards that require very little art skills.
  • Enjoy adult coloring books: More than a passing trend, adult coloring books have become a favorite pastime for many. They are inexpensive and easy to find. Bookstores, grocery stores, and craft stores all sell them. For older adults with vision loss, there are adult coloring books with large print.
  • Make a scrapbook: This activity provides families with an opportunity to reminisce and create a meaningful keepsake. Drag out the boxes of old photos and go through them together. Scan and print out some of your favorites. You can use stickers and colorful paper to create a one-of-a-kind scrapbook.
  • Pour a multigenerational stepping stone: Creating garden art with multiple family members is another idea. A fun one to explore is a stepping stone featuring handprints where several generations of the family can leave their mark. If you aren’t one for DIY projects, you can purchase a ready-to-use kit from the craft store.
  • Plant a terrarium: Creating decorative gardens in a glass container is another way for multiple generations to enjoy an art project together. When the kids are helping, you can choose a fun theme like a fairy garden, a dinosaur park, or even a Lego adventure.
  • Set sail: Putting together and painting a miniature sailboat can be a way to enjoy an afternoon. While craft stores usually have sailboat kits available, you can also find simple videos online to make more unique boats.

Alternative Therapies and Dementia Care

When you are the caregiver for a loved one with dementia, providing meaningful activities for them to engage in is vital. Adjunct therapies, also referred to as “nonmedical therapies,” can help. How to Use Nonmedical Therapies to Support a Senior with Alzheimer's is a good resource to review and learn more.

If you would like to set up a time to tour a Sunrise memory care neighborhood and see how we use art to promote self-esteem, please call 1- 888-434-4648 to schedule a time!