Creativity-Boosting Tips for Older Adults
It’s never too late for new beginnings. Now is the perfect time to adopt this positive outlook on life. In fact, an abundance of research points to the numerous benefits of creative activities for older adults (from personal growth, to feelings of purpose and competency) all of which are factors that help one live well at any age. To that end, we’ve listed five ways to help aging loved ones pursue new creative beginnings of their own.
1. Enroll in a Class
Has your aging loved one always longed to learn how to paint, draw or knit? If so, opportunities abound - aimed at teaching aging adults to explore their inner artist. Check in with your local senior center, parks and/or recreation department, community college or YMCA to learn more about classes for seniors.
2. Join a Performing Arts Group
While exploring any form of art is a great activity for aging seniors, the performing arts are particularly beneficial for boosting self-esteem, confidence and independence. Many choral groups are open to the public and welcome people of all ages and abilities.
Another potential outlet? Community theater. Seniors can play a variety of important roles both on and off-stage. Opportunities include everything from lead characters and ensemble parts, to backstage and front-of-house duties such as selling tickets or helping out with costumes.
An added bonus of joining a performing arts group? Membership broadens your aging loved one’s social network and decreases the risk of isolation.
3. Start a Journal
Seniors often write their life stories to share their experiences with future generations. But keeping a journal offers many benefits for older adults beyond merely preserving their legacies. Writing is linked with numerous health benefits including improved cognitive function and stress relief.
Many people find getting started to be one of the hardest parts of the writing process. If your aging loved one is facing this common struggle, encourage them to put pen to paper and see what happens. Formal writing prompts are widely available on the internet and may also offer inspiration. If writing itself is the main challenge, enlist the help of a family member, volunteer, neighbor, or friend who would be willing to record conversations and help tell your loved one’s story.
4. Mindfully Meditate
While the benefits of meditation are well known for alleviating anxiety, physical benefits also abound, including reducing inflammation, relieving insomnia and even clearing up respiratory infections. But did you know that meditation also promotes creative thinking?
Even if your aging loved one has never meditated before, research published in Science Daily indicates that meditation triggers conception of new ideas. And who knows where these ideas will lead when meditation is integrated into your aging loved one’s daily routine?
The Mayo Clinic provides a handy resource for learning more about the benefits of meditation as well as meditation techniques.
5. Make it Musical
From listening to music to playing a musical instrument, there are many ways to incorporate music into the lives of seniors. Not only is music itself a creative outlet, it can also foster creativity -- from opening up memories to promoting a particular mood. Music is also one of the most effective ways to enter the creativity-boosting “mind-wandering mode,” in which the majority of human innovation occurs.
The best part of creativity? Opportunities for embracing it are near-endless. For more ways to help your aging loved one benefit from creativity,” check out the book, Out of the Box: 101 Ideas for Thinking Creatively.
- Creativity promotes everything from self-expression to critical thinking -- at any age.
- Depending on your aging loved one’s preferences and abilities, there are a variety of ways to encourage creativity in seniors.
- If you’re having trouble getting your loved one to try something new, consider doing it together.
- You’ll both derive benefits from sharing a new creative pursuit. From the Internet to books, a number of resources are available to help you find ideal creativity-enhancing activities for your aging loved ones.
About Marissa Salvesen
My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!
Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.