Aging can unfortunately come with many problems to the mind, body and quality of life. But we find that there’s encouragement in activities that can counteract some of these effects and make life better. Art is one such activity that can improve your life if you’re an older adult, acting not just as an enjoyable hobby but also as a form of therapy. We know that there’s a form of art therapy you or the members of your senior program could enjoy with the wide variety of artistic options available.
The Value of Art Therapy to Older Adults
Art provides many benefits to older adults, whether you engage with a form of art by yourself or participate as part of a community activity. It can improve your mind by boosting motor skills, cognitive skills and mental health. It helps the body on a physical level, reducing pain and stress levels. Art also provides an activity older adults can do together for a social experience, and it can help you express yourself and deal with struggles during a difficult time, such as the loss of independence or the end of life.
Art can even ease mental health concerns and other symptoms that can coincide with chronic conditions, and can greatly benefit Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia through its creativity and other components. With all of these benefits along with the fact that art can be pleasurable, relaxing, creative and satisfying, engaging in this hobby can increase your quality of life.
Art Therapy Ideas
So you’re interested in the benefits of art therapy to yourself or the group of older adults in your program. What’s the next step? There is something for everyone in the many forms of artistic expression that exist, so try different types until you find ones that reward and enrich your life. With art, we like how it’s possible to find certain methods or to adapt a form of art to fit certain capabilities. For example, you could use jumbo crayons if you have trouble holding regular ones. Remember that art therapy should be relaxing and enjoyable, so switch your activity if you’re finding one type stressful or difficult.
Here are some of the art projects we recommend for older adults:
- Drawing or painting
- Clay sculpting or pottery
- Knitting or crocheting
- Creating jewelry with beads or other materials
- Glue art projects, such as gluing pieces of fabric to paper
- Crafts projects with pipe cleaners, ice pop sticks or other materials
Experiment with different materials and methods to fit yourself or your audience. For instance, you could draw with pencils, crayons, charcoal or other media with a background of paper, t-shirts or canvas.