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These Are the Best Art Therapy Projects for Seniors

Art therapy is an excellent way for your senior loved one to experience new things and socialize with others. 

While some seniors may be familiar with different art forms, it may be a new hobby or type of treatment for others. Either way, drawing, painting, coloring, and sculpting can improve your senior loved one’s quality of life. 

Using creative techniques offers many advantages, as art has a soothing and calming effect on those who engage in it. 

Assisted living and memory care communities have recognized the endless benefits, which is why many have implemented art into their life enrichment programs. 

You can even try some of The Kensington Sierra Madre’s top art therapy activities at home, with your senior loved one, so that they can experience the benefits of exercising their creativity. 

For seniors living in a community setting, life enrichment managers and coordinators will include art projects and activities on their life enrichment calendar. Most areas offer professional art therapy treatment if your senior has not yet transitioned to a community. 

The benefits of art therapy 

There is a positive connection between art and mental health in older adults. 

Whether a senior is creating art or experiencing it, art can enhance brain function and raise serotonin levels. 

Some of the most common and beneficial advantages to art therapy include the following.  

Reduced stress and depression

Seniors who engage in art therapy feel less stress, anxiety, loneliness, and depression than seniors who don’t. Art can give your senior loved one an outlet for their negative feelings and suppressed emotions. 

Help with grieving

Coping with loss is difficult for people of all ages. 

Due to its therapeutic nature, art can offer relief to grieving seniors. Many who have experienced loss describe the experience as numbing and heavy. It is also common to feel hopeless. 

Your senior loved one can use art to commemorate the person they are grieving. This may help them remember, honor, and feel connected to the person they lost. 

Reduced pain

If your senior loved one is suffering from chronic pain, art therapy can help them in several ways. First, creating art will help them exercise their joints and muscles, reducing pain and inflammation. 

Another way that art can offer pain relief is by redirecting your senior loved one’s focus from pain to the art they are creating. 

Improved brain function & memory

As they age, a senior’s cognitive functioning skills will decline. 

While this is a normal part of the aging process, art can help speed up neural connections and slow down the loss of brain cells. 

Seniors who engage in art activities improve their memory, daily life skills, and mental health.

Increased social interaction

Art therapy gives seniors a reason to interact with others who may share common interests. Often, seniors become lonely and can feel isolated. Art activities and projects allow seniors to build and maintain friendships. 

Enhanced motor skills

Through painting, drawing, coloring, and other art forms, seniors will use their limbs and joints. These exercises will help them increase their blood flow, improve muscle coordination, and build better dexterity. 

Greater self-expression

Seniors may have difficulty communicating, especially those with memory diseases. Fortunately, verbal communication is not the only form of communication. Art therapy can help seniors express their feelings and thoughts freely. 

Art therapy activities to try with seniors

At The Kensington Sierra Madre, many activities have been a hit with our residents including Memories in the Making painting, chair yoga, cooking demonstrations, and floral arranging. 

During MIM painting, we set the residents up with a tranquil painting experience and prompt them to paint whatever they’re feeling at the moment. When they’re done, we ask them to describe what they see or how they were feeling when they were painting, to get a glimpse at what was going on in their heads. 

All of these activities can be recreated at home even if you don’t have as much space. Floral arranging can be done on a nice day outside, with either flowers you pick together or store bought. You could also follow Youtube tutorials to create a cooking demo or chair yoga session right in your loved one’s own living room or kitchen.  

Those activities are some of our favorites but there is an endless list of art activities and projects you may try with your senior loved one.  

Art to help with emotions

  • Draw or paint emotions
  • Create an art journal 
  • Decorate a postcard or letter 
  • Create a family sculpture 
  • Attach a drawing or note to biodegradable balloons
  • Paint faces on plastic eggs
  • Create a mask

Art for relaxation 

  • Paint to music
  • Make a mandala
  • Paint with calming colors
  • Finger paint
  • Draw in sand or rake the sand
  • Cut and paste a collage
  • Heart string art

Art for trauma and loss

  • Build a memory box
  • Make a tribute scrapbook
  • Start a grief journal
  • Turn a loved ones clothing into a quilt
  • Create a mini diorama
  • Paint memorial rocks
  • Make a remembrance ornament

Art for happiness

  • Create a collage of the perfect day
  • Make a suncatcher
  • Paint terracotta pots
  • Abstract painting
  • Mold beads for jewelry with clay
  • Tape painting
  • Create rainbow lumineers

The Kensington Sierra Madre has life enrichment programs for all personalities

At The Kensington Sierra Madre, Our Promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own. 

With enhanced assisted living and memory care communities, your senior loved one will receive the care and assistance they need. 

Our team of compassionate staff is committed to improving the quality of life of our seniors. 

We offer clinical support, gourmet dining, rehabilitation services, spiritual services, life-enrichment activities, and secure grounds so that our residents can age in place. 

Contact us when you are ready to learn more about our cozy homes and the services and amenities we extend to our residents.

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