Why Creativity Matters and How Seniors Can Engage in It
Creativity isn’t something that’s beneficial only for your grandchildren. Whether you pick up a pencil to draw a sketch or simply engage in adding color to your assisted living apartment, flexing your creative muscles can have benefits for mental and physical health. Find out more about why creativity matters and get some tips for incorporating it into your life below.
Creativity helps keep your mind open to new thoughts and concepts, which can help support you as you try to keep learning about and enjoying the world around you. By learning to draw — whether or not you ever really master the skill — for example, you can train your mind to see the world in a completely new and surprising way.
Other benefits of creative pursuits for older adults include:
- Opportunities for socialization. Sometimes the arts are a solitary activity, but they don’t always have to be. You can join in with scrapbooking, writing, painting or arts and crafts groups to make friends interested in creative activities. The Hickory Villa assisted living community includes creative opportunities on the scheduled calendar of events, and you might also be able to join in on planned outings related to creative events.
- Reducing stress and anxiety. Creative pursuits can provide an outlet for a lot of emotions and thoughts. They can also be a way to quiet your mind as you sit and engage in the activity.
- Increased or maintained cognitive function. Taking part in creative projects can help fire neurons and form neural pathways to support the brain. Regularly creating can have a positive impact on functions including memory and logical reasoning.
- Better physical health. Some studies have shown that older adults who engage regularly in creative endeavors see physical health benefits.
If you’re a long-time creative soul, being creative as a senior is simply about reactivating or maintaining those interests. Think back to things you enjoyed in the past and find ways to incorporate them into your assisted living apartment.
One thing to remember is that creativity does not equal perfection. It doesn’t even have to equal functionality. Perhaps in the past you painted wall murals. You might not be able to do that anymore because of space constrictions or physical health or mobility limitations. But what about painting murals sparked joy for you? If it was about combining colors and creating pictures, you can do that with paper and paints in your apartment. You might even find that you enjoy using adult coloring books with colored pencils or markers.
For seniors who did not previously engage in creative activities, jumping into them can seem a bit daunting. But remember a few things:
- You don’t have to be “good” at something to enjoy it
- You don’t need to be an “artist” to be creative
- It’s about the activity, not the end result
- Practice doesn’t have to make perfect; sometimes you can just enjoy the moment
It’s also worth pointing out that creativity does not necessarily mean artistry. Yes, drawing, painting, writing, and other liberal arts are certainly creative. And if you enjoy doing those things, then they are ideal ways to bring creative pursuits to your daily life.
But you can also be creative in many other ways. Here are just some options for adding creativity to your life so you can experience some of the positive benefits.
- Take photographs. You can even use your smartphone; you don’t need an expensive camera to enjoy creative photography. Download a few apps that let you play with effects on your photographs for even more fun, and create an Instagram account where you can share the results with others.
- Engage in sewing or needle work. Sewing a pillow or shirt or knitting a scarf or hat are examples of creative works. Embroidery, tatting or cross stitch are also options.
- Start any hobby that lets you make something with your hands. Woodworking, whittling, floral arrangements, gardening or repurposing recycled materials all let you play with forms, functions, colors and designs — adding creative benefits to your day.
- Tell stories. Whether you tell them orally or write them down, making up or sharing stories is a great way to grease cognitive wheels while engaging with other people. And if you feel a creative spirit coming on when no one else is around, tell the story into a recording device so you can come back to it later.
- Experiment with making practical things. If you love scents, learn how to use essential oils and other natural ingredients to make bath bombs, soap or lotion in your assisted living apartment. The added benefit of this type of creative activity is that you can make gifts to use during holidays or other special occasions.
Creativity doesn’t come with a lot of rules. At Hickory Villa, we do encourage all our residents to stay safe when engaging in activities, but generally the sky is the limit on how you can use your imagination to make things.
Posted on Tue, June 16, 2020
by Shawn Deane