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Simple Arts & Craft Activities for Nursing Home Residents

Updated November 21, 2016

Simple craft activities can enhance the lives of elderly people in residential and nursing homes. Activities coordinators often contribute to the elderly person's experience of care. They also show a different side of the home to both residents and visitors, contradicting the image of elderly people sitting apathetically in front of a television set. Elderly people may feel more able to confide in a person not directly involved in their care, and also often find it easier to chat with fellow residents while their hands are engaged in craft work.

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Knitting and Tapesty Work

While knitting or sewing tapestry, an elderly person will exercise her hands and fingers, keeping these body parts mobile and helping to combat arthritis. Knitting and tapestry work require concentration, helping to keep the brain active. The elderly person will feel satisfaction at the end results, gaining confidence and improving her self-esteem. Activities coordinators may encourage the residents to contribute to a charity, perhaps making blankets for developing countries, or participating in a community project, such as making a wall hanging for the home.

Making Cards

A coordinator can organise the residents in a card-making project. This encourages the elderly people to remember forgotten skills and develop new ones. People living in a nursing home can easily forget the seasons and feel that one day resembles another. It is important to live in the seasons and making Christmas cards in the preceding month builds up anticipation in the residents. Activities coordinators and residents alike can cut out and keep suitable pictures, in advance, for the cards.


Many elderly people will have painted at some time in their lives; some may be talented artists. Painting improves dexterity, eye-hand coordination and concentration. The elderly person can forget aches and pains for a while and lose himself in his painting. He can release his creativity and perhaps inspire others in the class. People frequently express emotions in paintings, providing a healthy emotional release. Residents can display their pictures, or even sell them.

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About the Author

Noreen Wainwright has been writing since 1997. Her work has appeared in "The Daily Telegraph," "The Guardian," "The Countryman" and "The Lady." She has a Bachelor of Arts in social sciences from Liverpool Polytechnic and a postgraduate law degree from Staffordshire University.

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