March is National Crafting Month, and it’s also a great time for seniors to get involved in a creative activity. Crafting is a great outlet for people of all ages and abilities because it adds to a feeling of wellbeing. Even if someone experiences mental or physical limitations, he or she can participate in crafts, either independently or with the assistance of a caregiver. Here are a few reasons why crafting is beneficial for seniors as well as some ideas to help get them in the creative mood.
What Crafting Is
When you think of crafts, you may not be sure how they differ from art. Art is a form of artistic expression and can involve a variety of means, including painting, sculpture, photography, and even dance and music. Crafting, on the other hand, is more about the creation of something, more as a leisure activity than a calling. Crafting can be done with any level of skill and can be quick and simple or complicated and advanced.
How It Helps
For seniors, crafting can provide quite a few benefits for both physical and mental health. Crafting can employ visual-spatial skills as well as fine motor dexterity to participate. Some of the other benefits include:
- A sense of purpose or accomplishment
- Increased socialization, especially if crafting in a group setting
- Decreased anxiety and depression symptoms
- Improved cognitive function
Where to Begin
Before taking on a crafting project, seniors should think about what options would be a good fit for their ability level or attention span, and what might interest them. Some basic activities can be coloring, moldable clay or homemade dough, sorting buttons, or painting. If a senior is able to function at a higher level, they may want to be introduced to more complicated crafts, such as scrapbooking, sewing, knitting, pottery, mosaics, or collage work. Some of these activities would also work well with more than one senior participating, which is an easy way to incorporate more socialization into a routine.
Here are a few other ideas to make crafting projects successful:
- Stick to an appropriate skill level to avoid frustration or agitation for the senior. Craft activities should be relaxing and enjoyable.
- Remember that a senior even with mild to moderate Dementia or Alzheimer’s will enjoy crafting and should be treated with the same respect and dignity as others
- Craft projects can be tailored to reflect the seasons or upcoming holidays which will aid in a talking piece when family visits
For more ideas about crafting or other activities to engage seniors, contact Home Helpers. We can provide you with a range of services to preserve quality of life, safety, and dignity for you or your loved one.