The Benefits of Painting for Seniors
Ever since the first cave dweller dabbed paint on the stone wall of their cave, tracing the outline of an antelope or a boar in wet dye with their finger, where there has been man, so has there been art. Painting is a great way to relax, pass the time, flex your creative muscles, and keep the mind engaged. Seniors can especially reap rewards from the unique benefits that painting has to offer. Read below to find out what a set of acrylic paints and an easel can do for you!
Regular, focused activity can have enormously rewarding effects for seniors living with memory loss. Artistic pursuits engage the mind on both sides of the brain, utilizing many different centers and lobes of the brain simultaneously. This kind of mental exercise can keep the mind sharp, helping to keep seniors’ mental capacities strong and resilient. In the case of those suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's, it can help forge connections and passions that can cut through the debilitating fog of memory loss.
For seniors with limited mobility or movement issues, painting can be a great way to stay active as well. The act of engaging with a canvas, moving the brush around, and handling the paint can provide slow, easy, low-impact activity to help keep joints limber and muscles firm, helping with fine motor skills and dexterity. For seniors with arthritis, there can be an improvement in the pain and swelling in the areas of the wrist, hands, and fingers. And for seniors who can stand, keeping oneself upright at the easel will help keep the legs and core muscles engaged, helping with balance to prevent falls.
Painting has countless emotional benefits as well. Everyone feels stress to some degree, but the challenges of aging can weigh heavily on seniors, causing them high amounts of unhealthy stress. Without an outlet or a release, the collected weight of stress can have not only deleterious mental effects like depression, agitation, or irritability, but it can even cause physical maladies like inflammation or ulcers. Painting, as it is a fun, creative, and relaxing pursuit, can be a great stress reliever for seniors.
Additionally, with issues like loneliness, depression, or isolation being common problems plaguing seniors, painting can help to alleviate those as well. With the pride and sense of accomplishment that comes from finishing a work of art, and the social activity of sharing their work, or perhaps participating in a group painting class, one can see how nurturing an appreciation for art and creativity can help chase the blues away.
For seniors as well, the difficulties of adapting to and living in a world that’s changing around them from the one they grew up and thrived in, painting can provide another benefit. By tapping into their subconscious and using art to put their feelings onto the canvas, seniors can boost their communication skills, as well as provide themselves with something to discuss, start a conversation, or create a gift or a keepsake for their family to hold onto and cherish.