Coloring isn't just for kids anymore. Within the past few years, the market for adult coloring books has grown tremendously. From grocery stores to bookstores to any online retailer, you'll find no shortage of coloring books for adults. Adult coloring books are often marketed to stressed-out working adults, but seniors can also greatly benefit from coloring therapy.
Coloring therapy has its roots in chromotherapy, the science of using colors to promote mental and physical healing. If you've ever felt relaxed after staring at the blue ocean or energized after sitting in the sun, you've experienced the benefits of color therapy. Clearly, people of all ages can enjoy chromotherapy. But for seniors, the simple activity of coloring provides many additional advantages.
How Does Coloring Therapy Help Older Adults?
Coloring provides similar benefits to meditation. It relaxes the mind, focuses our attention on the present moment, and can provide an escape from everyday life.
Here are a few additional ways that coloring therapy can help seniors:
Coloring therapy can improve motor skills.
The act of coloring can increase eye and hand coordination. It also improves dexterity, grip control, and focus. It is important for seniors to strengthen motor skills as much as possible, and coloring is a great way to do so.
Coloring is a mode of self-expression.
Coloring therapy is a way for older adults to be creative. There is no right or wrong way to color, and despite what our teachers told us, we don't have to "stay in the lines." You can encourage your senior loved one to follow their heart while creating a coloring masterpiece, without any rules or guidelines to follow.
Coloring sessions can help those with Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia.
For seniors with memory issues, coloring can be a stimulating activity that eases anxiety. Coloring therapy can bring back memories for aging adults, especially if they are working with images they might recognize, such as vintage cards, birds, plants, landscapes, or other familiar images.
Coloring therapy provides a sense of accomplishment.
Boredom is detrimental for seniors. The feeling of having nothing to do or focus on can lead to loneliness and depression in many older adults. Coloring focuses the brain on a single goal and provides mental stimulation. It improves concentration and provides a physical representation of a completed project.
Coloring is a great family activity.
Everyone can benefit from a simple coloring session, from children to middle-aged and older adults. In fact, coloring is a great way for loved ones to engage seniors, and the shared activity can strengthen relationships between seniors and their grandchildren. Have you ever considered having a family coloring night? It might be a great way to spend time with the whole family and create bonds that will last for a lifetime.
Keeping an Aging Mind Healthy
As we age, it is just as important to keep our minds as healthy as it is to keep our bodies healthy. Coloring therapy is just one way to do so. For more information on how to keep you or your loved one's brain active and healthy, download our free guide: The Visual Guide for Keeping an Older Mind Sharp. You'll learn the benefits of staying active and find a few puzzles and activities to get started.