As an older adult, what are the health and wellbeing benefits that adult colouring books can offer?
An internet search on adult coloring yields an abundance of articles. Many of them are from clinicians and care facilities that treat older adults living with Alzheimer’s or memory loss.
Colouring is an activity that a person can become engrossed in and they can become so ‘in the zone’ that they forget about any other worries or problems just for a short time. The repetitive nature of colouring can help ease agitation or aggression, which are common symptoms of dementia.
Some experts have likened colouring to meditation as it allows you to ‘switch off’, which can be extremely helpful for people with dementia. It is also great for hand-eye coordination, dexterity and provides an outlet for self-expression.
Colouring is also a very inclusive activity for anyone of any age, perfect if you’re struggling to find an activity for children and grandparents to do together.
Just remember, it’s important to be sensitive to the colouring books/sheets you give a person with dementia as giving them something torn from a child’s colouring book or giving them something too complicated/intricate if they struggle to hold pens and pencils can be demeaning.
Not only can colouring help with focus and concentration, it can help improve mood and in some cases even help with accessing past memories.
Research performed by the American Art Therapy Association has discovered that adults who engage in the practice of therapeutic colouring experience feelings of decreased stress, have more confidence, and enjoy an overall greater sense of calm and serenity. These emotional and psychological benefits are rooted in the physiological changes that occur when an individual is lost in a world of peaceful landscapes, architecture, mandalas, and other engaging subjects that adult colouring books provide.
The use of coloring books for older adults is relaxing and beneficial in many ways. If you’re looking for a new, creative hobby for you or an older loved one, here are just a few health and well-being related reasons to consider coloring books as an activity for yourself, or a friend or loved one:
Improved motor & cognitive skills
Colouring requires senior adults to hold the objects such as crayons, paint brushes, sketch pens to do the colouring and this facilitates movement in the hand, wrist, and fingers as the client need to move the object in hand to form an artwork.
Improved focus and concentration
Art therapy has shown that art improves the mind’s ability to focus and increases the concentration in the being. The attention to color, shapes and patterns when coloring helps direct attention and center the mind.
Art therapy has been known in shifting the focus towards mindfulness and relaxation from tension or anxiety. Doing art facilitates the emotion of happiness and relief, which allows mood elevation in the client. Studies show coloring as an activity has an immediate short-term effect of reducing stress. If you live with a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s, anxiousness caused by confusion is a common symptom. Having coloring books on hand can offer a solution to relieve any unease.
A boost in self-confidence
Making art allows a person to free themselves of pent up insecurities, emotions or anxiety through artwork. This allows senior adults to feel a sense of accomplishment and appreciation for self through the formation of art.
Colouring artwork such as mandala and scenery facilitates positive emotion in the client because mandalas are scientifically created in a manner to promote positivity and decrease negativity.
Relaxes the mind
According to the Cleveland Clinic, coloring helps ease stress and relaxes the mind in three ways:
- It forces you to be present: colouring is a simple act that focuses attention outside of yourself. It takes your mind off of your worries. It’s so effective at quieting thought that psychologists compare its benefits to meditation.
- Colouring relaxes the brain: because you’re focused on a simple activity, the brain can rest.
- No judgment: colouring is a low-stakes activity. Whether you are neat or messy, there is no right or wrong way to do it. You’re not judging your performance.
Offers a sense of Nostalgia
The colouring craze is popular among adults of all ages. But it is particularly beneficial for older adults living with memory loss because it’s a simple activity they remember from their youth. Moreover, there are no elaborate rules that are difficult to remember. They can indulge in a fun pastime that’s simple to get started. Even when adults with memory loss forget recent experiences, they remember events from long ago. As such, coloring can bring back some of their pleasant childhood memories.
Affordable and convenient – Anywhere, anytime
One great benefit of colouring is that you can do it anywhere. For seniors whose mobility may be limited, colouring can still be enjoyed no matter the environment or circumstance. Take your colouring book on your next cruise holiday or by the pool. Taking the caravan for a tour – pack it in your bag. Or better yet, plan a weekly or monthly catch up with friends and colour together, you’ll be surprised at how much fun and entertainment it can provide – in addition to the social benefits. Colouring provides limitless enjoyment, independent of mobility or access. So grab a colouring book, some pencils and a friend or two, and discover the simple, yet abundant joys of colouring.
In summary, a simple activity like colouring has many benefits for older adults. It calms the mind and allows you to enter a meditative state. Other benefits of colouring include improved focus and hand-eye coordination. Provides an outlet for self-expression, promotes socialisation and reminiscing, improves dexterity (grip control), helps to maintain motor function and provides a sense of accomplishment.
For adults coping with memory loss, colouring stimulates happy childhood memories. It’s an ideal social activity to share with grandchildren or other family members.
If you care for an older adult or someone with Alzheimer’s or memory loss, try incorporating colouring into their routine.
For more articles around the benefits of colouring and colouring books steps to get started, visit our Colouring Corner page.
Time to de-stress, relax & colour
Our book includes 50 intricate and therapeutic designs that feature detailed patterns of animal portraits, bird life and sea life. Printed on high quality extra-thick paper, uncoated, high white with a smooth finish, and is 100% recycled. Our book is suited to any aged adult, and the perfect gift idea!
Printed and bound in Australia. We are proud to support local Australian businesses.
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