(WTNH) — March 12th through March 18th is Brain Awareness Week. Synergy HomeCare is encouraging local seniors to participate in coloring clubs to exercise their minds.
A study by the National Endowment for the Arts found adults 65 and older who participated in creative activities, such as coloring, made fewer trips to the doctor and had fewer health problems than their counterparts who didn’t participate in such activities.
According to the American Art Therapy Association the creativity of coloring can promote enhanced joint health and flexibility because seniors need to use their fine motor skills when picking up and using a colored pencil or marker. (Source: . Art in Senior Living: Enhancing the Lives of Older Adults).
The owner of Synergy HomeCare in East haven Gordon Wall says coloring helps with six C’s:
Coordination – As we age, we lose some dexterity in our fingers. It also takes even more of an effort to control the muscles in our arms and hands. A simple activity, like coloring, can help Mom strengthen these skills.
Creativity – Exercising creativity enhances the quality of life and nurtures overall well-being.
Communication – Many aging adults have conditions that make it difficult for them to communicate their feelings and thoughts, including dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and strokes. Coloring a picture can help them express themselves without having to use words.
Calmness – Art is an excellent way to de-stress. By focusing on the image she’s creating, an elderly mom can put all other worrisome thoughts aside, including those of the physical ailments that cause her pain.
Capability – When seniors look at the pictures they created, they feel a sense of pride and accomplishment that boosts their self-esteem.
Connection – Coloring is a great way for older moms to bond with the younger generations. Coloring can also help older moms remember they are children at heart.
You can download free coloring pages by clicking the link below:
These free designs, created by Synergy HomeCare, are better suited to seniors who may have vision or fine motor control issues, such as arthritis.
Intricate designs may be too complicated, especially for memory care patients.
The best coloring templates include those that take cues from the past to help trigger memories. For example, if a senior grew up on a farm, a coloring page which includes farm scenes might help them remember their childhood.
Long colored pencils with a slip-on triangle grip work best for older hands. Crayons are too fragile and short for seniors who may have arthritic issues.