It’s no secret that exercise and healthy eating are essential factors in maintaining good cognitive health as we age. But, did you know that engaging in activities that get our creative juices flowing is a considerable component of enhancing cognitive function? Research has shown that incorporating creative arts into a senior’s routine causes the brain to reshape and adapt. It also provides a multitude of other benefits, including reduced stress and anxiety, sensory stimulation, and boosted self-esteem.
The good news is that anybody can get creative! If you are a caregiver, try out some of these creative pursuits with the seniors in your life:
Painting. Gather some watercolors, acrylics, brushes, and canvases and encourage your senior to try their hand at painting. Painting is a fun and relaxing hobby and helps to sharpen the mind while delivering numerous health benefits. Once they’ve gotten the hang of it, head outdoors to a local park to paint the scenery or to a local museum to gather some inspiration.
Literature and Poetry. Getting lost in a good book or poem awakens the senses and opens up the mind to new thoughts and ideas. Exposing seniors to literature and poetry is beneficial to brain health and has also been shown to relieve stress and improve mood. Furthermore, writing stories and poetry provides an outlet for emotions that one might otherwise keep to himself. To get started, check out Ageless Authors, a publishing service for senior writers, and the book “I Never Told Anybody.”
Playing Instruments. We can all attest to the fact that music can raise one’s spirits and evoke happy memories. Music therapy has become a popular, and effective, method for helping seniors to relax, relieve stress, improve memory, and even restore lost speech. One important facet of music therapy is experimenting with musical instruments. Whether or not your senior has previous musical experience doesn’t matter! If they do, help them to rediscover their former talent by signing up for a lesson or purchasing a second-hand instrument. Otherwise, start with fun and simple instruments like a small drum, a triangle, or a keyboard.
Knitting. Knitting, along with sewing, quilting, and cross-stitching, is an excellent way to engage the brain while strengthening fine motor skills and, in some cases, relieve chronic pain. To promote socialization, check your local library or senior center to see if they hold weekly knitting groups. Your senior may also be interested in giving back to the community by knitting for charity.
Getting creative with your senior does not need to be limited to the above suggestions; these are just a few of our favorites. We wish you luck on your creative journey!