Benefits of Creative Activities for the Elderly

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Children aren't the only ones who can benefit from creative activities such as art, writing and dance. In some cases, getting an elderly person involved in some type of creative activity can help improve both quality of life and mental functioning.

Nursing homes and senior citizen communities recognise the value of creative activities, which is why some establish entire programs dedicated to artistic projects for the elderly.

Sharpen Skills and Abilities

Introducing creative activities to an elderly person can help to sharpen mental capacity, physical abilities and senses. For example, drawing and painting help a person become more knowledgeable about colour theory and how various colours work together on a canvas to create something beautiful. When asked to describe her art and the inspiration behind her work, the senior citizen has an opportunity to exercise her mind. Dancing gives an elderly person an exciting excuse to move around, improve her circulation and become stronger.

Inspire and Encourage

Participation in creative activities can help inspire an elderly person who may be depressed or sad about his current situation, especially if he's experiencing medical issues or living in a nursing home. Giving the older person an assignment to work on an activity that will challenge his mind or body may be just the encouragement he needs to improve his outlook. It will give him something to look forward to each day, which could pull him out of a depression. A creative activity can give the older person a sense of accomplishment and happiness. A 10-year study from researchers at Columbia University Medical Center found that a positive outlook in life can have health benefits.

Bond With Other Seniors

A study published in the "Archives of Internal Medicine" showed that a decrease in social activity can make a senior feel five years older and slow motor skills significantly. Getting an older person involved in a creative activity, like drawing, dance or performing arts, can help overcome social anxieties and isolation. Some elderly people, such as shut-ins, tend to separate themselves from society. These people can benefit from more human contact, particularly with other elderly folks, while participating in a creative activity. They can meet new friends and become more social while enjoying these pastimes.

Creative Writing

Creative writing may also have benefits for the elderly. It helps stimulate the elderly person's brain cells, gives him the opportunity to write down his current thoughts and exercise his creativity to come up with stories. It also allows him to reflect on the past. A senior can write the story of his life and remember experiences with his children, friends or family members. The act of writing can improve his mood and help him to feel proud of what he's accomplished in life.