As we age, it’s important to keep our minds active. If you’re caring for an older relative, whether in your home or helping them while they’re living in an assisted living facility, helping them to stay creative can be a good way to keep the mind active, creativity flowing and be a nice way to spend time together.
Creative pursuits, whether painting, knitting or singing, can have great mental benefits. Keeping their minds engaged on a project can help the elderly maintain their ability to concentrate. Large scale art projects with the elderly often seem to help participants to feel happier and less depressed. Being involved with an art class reduces loneliness, which can be a big problem for older people, especially those living away from family. Whether they’re spending with you working on a creative project, meeting others in a class setting or using their craft skills to make things for others, getting creative can help your relative feel more positive and less isolated.
Depending on what sort of creative activity they use to take up, some crafts could improve hand dexterity. Things like knitting, crocheting or scrapbooking keep the hands moving, which could be a real help to keep joints in the hand moving.
Dancing can be a great gentle exercise for older people, helping them to stay fit and active, as well as keeping their bodies more limber. Dance is also good for the mind and has been a popular activity for the elderly to improve their memories and other mental capacities.
Creative projects can also be a great way for older people to share their stories and build links with younger relatives. Old photographs can be turned into beautiful physical memories with scrapbooking. They could take photographs to show their daily life, or take up painting to share the way they see the world. With jewelry making, sewing or knitting, they can make gifts to pass on to their loved ones to keep.
If the older people have young grandchildren, you could help them to learn a craft that small children can take part in to, building links and bonds between the oldest and youngest members of the family. Both parties will benefit from new craft skills and time together while making lasting memories.
Art could also be a wonderful way to share a family culture with younger family members. Ask an elderly relative to teach you or your children a traditional craft, whether it’s something like making dream catchers or teaching a skill that has been in the family for a long time, like quilt making. This is a great way to connect to family history and be a part of a meaningful link to your own heritage.
Music can be a great thing to share too. Ask them to play you their favorite songs from different periods of their life, to help you learn about their memories and who they were as a younger person.
Creative activities can be a wonderful bonding experience, with many physical and mental benefits.