One of the best ways for elders to stay interested in, and engaged with, the world around them is to be creative. Pablo Picasso famously said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” And, it certainly does require some effort to find the time and energy for creativity in some cases. But, as elder care professionals know from their time with residents, that effort is rewarded many times over in the joy and connection that creative seniors feel.
The Tremendous Benefits of Creative Expression
Creativity produces a whole host of benefits, from the cellular level to the societal level. They include:
- Tuning up the connections between brain cells. Creative expression causes the firing of many different kinds of neurons in the brain, including those associated with memory. “Where did I place that last brush stroke? Where was I thinking I’d place the next one?” This mental exercise can help fend off cognitive decline.
- Relieving mood and sleep disorders. Challenging the brain with creating a masterpiece or learning a new art form keeps the mind fully engaged. And that engagement temporarily replaces negative feelings with positive ones, which can elevate an elder’s mood, and, by extension, help them sleep better.
- Creating a sense of accomplishment. Completing a creative endeavor produces feelings of triumph and satisfaction that can have a positive impact on an elder’s outlook today and beyond.
- Forming friendships with others. One of the best ways to bond with someone else is through shared interests. When a person gets to work at the potter’s wheel near yours, you know you’ve found a kindred spirit.
- Increasing the ability to endure hardship. Having a creative hobby to take refuge in during difficult times can make all the difference to an elder in terms of their ability to cope.
- Encouraging others. Seeing the shawl an elder has crocheted, the wood statue they’ve carved, or the painting they’ve completed can get the creative juices flowing for another person, thereby having a positive influence on their life.
A Variety of Artistic Options
While painting and sculpting often come to mind when someone mentions creativity, there are many, many other ways that elders can express themselves. For example, adult coloring books have become quite popular. And, floral arranging is a fun and challenging artistic pursuit. Knitting itemsthat are then given to people in need produces the powerful one-two punch of creativity and generosity. And making music is a great way to express yourself.
An Environment that Encourages Engagement
At Green House Homes at Mirasol, our real-home setting and supportive staff make it easy for elders to pursue their interests. Whether individually or in groups, these creative activities help put a smile on their face and joy in their heart.
February/27/2018 | News