Keeping active is an important concern for many senior citizens as well as their family members. Health limitations associated with old age can limit certain activities, but arts and crafts are not one of them. Senior citizens that continue to be interested in daily activates as well as new and existing hobbies find that they sleep better, keep their mind active, fight the onset of depressions, and generally have a healthier outlook on life.
Arts and crafts are a great outlet that can cross many boundaries of interest. For example, seniors that were once interested in sports such as baseball can incorporate this into their arts and crafts projects.
Health limitations such as arthritis, loss of mobility, and Alzheimer’s can set limitations on what arts and crafts projects an individual can do, but it cannot stop them from thriving in the creative process associated with arts and craft projects. I have spent some time researching and trying out some different art related projects. There are quite a few different projects that can be easily accomplished at any stage in a person’s life.
Working with clay is a fabulous choice for an arts and craft project for a senior citizen. Clay is malleable and pliant, perfect for an individual who may not have the utmost control over their fingers anymore. Some great ideas for projects would include pottery, vases, bowls, mugs, and well anything they want! If you are dealing with an individual in an assisted living home or even one in your own home, you can take your pottery to be fired at a local clay company. Every large sized city had one. If you cannot find a pottery studio try posting an ad on Craigslist or in your local paper or church bulletin. Local schools and colleges will also usually have a kiln. Try the local high school first. Kilns have become increasingly less expensive over the years and you may surprised at the different sources you will find that have a kiln and are wiling to fire pottery for those who need to. You should definitely research this part of the project before you begin. If you can find no source for a kiln in your area, visit the local arts and crafts store. There are many materials available today that work the same as clay, but that can be fired in your own oven at home. These products, as well as traditional clay, are also available over the web from online art stores like Pearl and Dick Blick.
Mosaics are also a great choice for a group of senior citizens who are at different levels of mobility. Putting together a mosaic is very much like putting together a puzzle. Small pieces of tile are arranged to create a design. The process sis very simple and even someone who has never created a mosaic can instruct anyone on how to do it. You begin by finding the surface you would like to mosaic. This could be anything from a flowerpot to a flat piece of wood. It is best to preplan your design if you are going for something specific, but many great works of art are just formed as you go along. You will need to buy tile adhesive, grout, and the tiles you wish to mosaic with. Begin by breaking the tiles with a hammer. You may want to place the tiles inside a pillowcase or towel so that pieces aren’t scattered everywhere. Next, scrape some of the adhesive onto your surface, following the instructions on the products container. Now for the fun part. Place pieces of tile in any pattern you wish. For the most part when you are finished with this step you will need to let the tile rest over night so the adhesive can set. This is great resting period for both the piece for art as well as the senior citizen artist. The next day begin smearing the grout in between the tiles and all over the tiles. Allow the grout to set for about five minutes and then begin wiping off with a damp cloth. There will be specific instructions on the container for grout you buy. You will need to let this also sit over night. Mosaics can be done on any scale and almost any surface. Small mosaics are equally as gratifying as large projects, so don’t let space limitations stop you. This is the perfect project for anyone in any area. All of these materials can be found at the local home and garden store or even the hardware store.
Photography is also a fabulous arts and craft project for senior citizens. While someone with limited mobility in their hands may not be able to work all of the small gears on a camera, they should be able to push the most important button, the one that takes the pictures. Digital cameras have taken over the world of photography. Using something as familiar as photography is a great way to introduce senior citizens to computers. The landscaped grounds around an assisted living home are a great place to photograph flowers and people. Digital cameras and computers are becoming so affordable, that most people have access to them readily. Take advantage of them and create some truly great works of art. This is also a great project for someone who is bed ridden. You can involve family members to make this really fun. Have the children go take the photos and then every can be part of the process of deciding what to do with the photos. You can also use existing photos to create images on mugs, t-shirts, aprons, and even magnets. All of these art supplies are readily available at stores like Office Depot, Wal-Mart, and sometimes even Walgreen’s and CVS.
Almost any arts and crafts project can be incorporated into the special needs a senior citizen may have. Remember to have fun and keep active. Arts and crafts allow people to express their individuality and reconnect with the world.