Crafts for senior citizens can be a fun and rewarding way to make use of time and learn new skills. Crafts are a very important activity in a person’s life because they assist in physical and mental growth of an individual. They also improve on social cohesion of people when done in groups. The elderly are a group of people who are not only physically impaired as a result of old age, but also require a lot of attention from us in order to remove the feelings of uselessness and isolation from their minds. This is considering that their bodies are shutting down literally, albeit slowly. The elderly also represent a demographic with a great deal of time on their hands and nothing much to keep them occupied. This places them at an increased risk of depression, anxiety or a general lack of control over their environment. while we really need to involve them in crafts, we need to remember that they are not as agile and full of dexterity as they used to. In fact, we should consider crafts which do not involve a lot of complex creativity and use of machines or tools. They should be simple enough for them to do on their own with minimal assistance and supervision.
Below are some of the crafts that the elderly can engage in to get the most out of crafts.
White or plain colored t-shirts can be used for this activity. Seniors can be asked to pick out their favorite stamp designs and colors. They can then proceed to dip the stamps in their color of choice and place them anywhere on the t-shirt. They can create a pattern or random prints on the t-shirts. This can be as repetitive as they like.
The elderly can also use skin friendly ink which will allow them to use their palms instead of stamps and again make the prints in a manner they desire on the t-shirts.
Letters can be made out of cardboard or plywood or any light material. These can be pre purchased. They can be wrapped in wool or cloth or ribbon. The elderly will have to wrap the cloth or wool around the entire length of the letter and fasten the ends with glue. Flowers and buttons can also be added to accentuate the letter and give it a better finish. If the letters are not too large, then the elderly can spell out their names. This requires very little energy and mental effort.
Vases and assortment of flowers can be provided to the elderly for this activity. They can place the flowers into the vases in whatever order and color they like. This is a short exercise which is not tasking and greatly appeals to their creative senses. This can be done individually or in groups to make for a fun filled exercise. The vases can also vary in size, shape, and designs.
Paint, paint brushes and rocks of various sizes – but not larger than palm size, can be handed out to a person and they can decide on the pattern and color to use. They are allowed to paint as many rocks as they please. These rocks can be used as paper weight or as decorative pieces on their bedside tables and/or mantles.
Sun catchers are beautiful home decor adornments which can be made from almost any material. The materials needed include a metal or plastic ring which will be used to hold the swinging pieces, twisted metal strips for the beading and big beads which are easily threaded so that they do not strain their eyesight while doing so. The elderly will string beads on the spiral metals and then attach this spiral to the ring. They can cut the spiral strip to various lengths to give the sun catcher a nice look. Once done, a string or a hook can be attached to the ring to allow it to hang or dangle. There is no formula to the beading; everybody can do it as they please. The metal strips can be pre cut before being availed to the elderly. Alternatively, if it does not take them a lot of effort, supervised cutting can be allowed.
Magnets and objects of various types and sizes can be availed for this activity. Examples include sea shells, alphabets and numbers, tiny picture frames, plastic flowers and beautiful buttons. These random objects can be placed in a central position so that they can be picked at pleasure. The elderly will stick an object to the magnet. Hot glue or super glue can be used but with supervision.
This is a very easy craft to do, since it involves cutting ribbons and tying them onto a key ring and gluing them so that they stay in place. The end result is a tassel made from ribbons. The ribbons can be of various colors and types to make the key chain attractive. Beads, flowers and buttons can also be added to make the ribbon key chains more appealing.
Garlands are easy and beautiful wall hangings to make. They can be made using ribbons, pom poms, yarn, paper letters etc. They do not take a lot of effort or time. You will need a piece of string as long as your desired length for the garland. After deciding on the material to use – ribbon, yarn etc- you will tie or glue these to the string in regular intervals from one end to the other, leaving enough space on the extreme ends to tie the garland to something for hanging. Letters may also be used. The elderly can spell something like “happy home” or “welcome” or anything else of their choosing. The options are endless. With the yarn, you can use varying shades of a color or different colors and cut them to different sized portions. These cuttings can then be equally tied to the main string.
The beach is ever a nice place for anyone. This is mostly because of the feel, the smell, and the look of the sand. It is always beautiful to have a memento that reminds you of your time at the beach. The elderly can create nice sand art using colored sand, pebbles and shells. The sand is poured into a bottle to form layers if colored and once in a while, an item- pebble or shell- is dropped in until the bottle is full. It is then sealed off with glue and a bottle cap. The sand can also be natural (not colored). Funnels should be provided to ease the pouring of sand into the bottles.
Bracelets are pretty ornaments and quite simple to make. String, beads, and clasps can be provided to the elderly. They will string the beads as they please and tie them off adding clasps as soon as the bracelet reaches the desired length. The beads should be easy to thread so that they do not struggle doing it. The elderly can make as many bracelets as they like.