Winter can have a dramatic impact on the well-being of seniors. This time of year limits older adults’ options when it comes to outdoor activities due to cold temperatures and slick, unsafe conditions, but the weather can’t limit creativity. Engaging in creative activities in their daily lives is a great way for seniors to keep their minds active even when they can’t get outside as often as they’d like. And while the weather may be starting to warm, there are still a few more weeks of winter to get through before resuming a more active outdoor lifestyle in the spring, and focusing on the arts can help keep seniors' minds sharp. The advantages of keeping an aging adult’s hands and mind active and busy with creative activities should not be overlooked. Engaging in expressive artistic activities provides relaxation and stress management, provides sensory input, reduces boredom, promotes socialization, reduces feelings of anxiety and depression, and improves cognitive function, among other things. There are a number of ways to encourage creative expression in seniors that are compatible with their age, abilities, and their preferences. Here are some ideas that can help older adults tap into their artistic abilities and benefit from engaging in creative activities. Painting There’s nothing that gets those creative juices flowing quite like holding a brush in your hand in front of a blank canvas. Painting is an activity suitable for anyone of any artistic skill level from beginner to seasoned artists. Whether it’s signing up for an art class with friends or doing a paint-by-number at-home solo, creating a personal masterpiece is very rewarding. Textile Arts Knitting, crocheting, and quilting are forms of art that use textiles like yarn and fabric to create all manner of beautiful and useful things. These activities promote manual dexterity and help keep fine motor skills sharp. One of the most rewarding things about this type of activity is having a handmade item to gift to loved ones when the project is finished. What better activity to keep busy on a cold blustery day than knitting a warm blanket or stitching a cozy quilt? Creative Writing Putting a pen to paper and composing the written word is therapeutic in more ways than one. Not only does it engage the mind, but it also provides an outlet to express feelings and emotions that may be difficult to communicate to others. Writing poems, and short stories, recording family history, or even writing a novel are all great literary endeavors for seniors. Every senior has an important story to tell, and writing allows them to do it. Cooking And Baking We don’t often think of preparing food as being a creative activity, but it’s called culinary arts for a reason. Cooking and baking open the mind to creation, which is what creative activities are all about. Enrolling in a local cooking class or simply trying a new recipe several days each week is an excellent way to nourish both the mind and the body. Performing Arts It’s never too late to get involved in the performing arts. Music, dance, and theater all have something to offer seniors. Depending on physical ability seniors can learn to play an instrument, take a dance class, or try out for a community theater production. They could also organize and put on a production with their friends. Or if they don’t want to be on stage there are plenty of creative behind-the-scenes tasks such as working in wardrobe, scenery, lighting, and sound. There is a way for anyone to contribute to a performance, and every role provides a means of sharing one’s creativity with the world. At Ashbridge Manor Senior Living we pride ourselves on creating an environment that enables seniors to lead a fulfilling, socially active lifestyle and independent lifestyle. When it’s time to transition to a senior living facility, contact our professional staff members and we can help make it easy. You can find us at 971 E. Lancaster Avenue in Downingtown, PA, call 610.269.8800, or contact us online for more information. Ask us about our move-in special!