10 Easy Craft Ideas For The Elderly
October 12th, 2022
Whether you’re recently retired or looking for something to keep your hands and mind busy, arts and crafts can be a great way to learn a new skill and channel your creativity.
All of our easy craft ideas for the elderly can be picked up quickly if you have a little patience and the right materials, and they can be incredibly rewarding. You’ll soon be making lovely things to decorate your home or to give as gifts to loved ones, while keeping your mind engaged and sharp.
And these aren’t just craft ideas for seniors; arts and crafts can be a great multigenerational activity for groups of friends or family members of all ages to get involved with. Spend time making something beautiful together that the younger generation can cherish – a lovely way to make memories together.
You’re never too old to try out a new hobby. Indeed, in a July 2017 report titled Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing, the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing stated: “The creative impulse is fundamental to the experience of being human.
“The act of creation, and our appreciation of it, provides an individual experience that can have positive effects on our physical and mental health and wellbeing”
That desire to create doesn’t disappear as we get older – we might just need to find new ways to channel it. Read on to discover some of our favourite craft ideas for seniors to try, and the benefits these could have for your wellbeing.
What Are The Benefits Of Arts And Crafts For Elderly People?
There can be lots of benefits of arts and crafts for elderly people – and indeed for people of all ages. On the physical side, crafts requiring precision, such as embroidery, can help to hone your fine motor skills and keep them in check.
Meanwhile, crafts like knitting and weaving require repetitive motions, which can be calming for your hands and soothing for your mind. This may even help you to manage feelings of stress and anxiety, and some even believe that it could help to lower blood pressure.
Another of the benefits of arts and crafts for elderly people is their rewarding nature. Being able to see something beautiful developing in front of your eyes can be incredibly satisfying, giving you a hit of dopamine – the ‘feel-good’ hormone.
10 Craft Activities For Seniors
Whether you’re looking for a new hobby for yourself or you want to encourage a loved one to try something new, check out our list of ten easy craft ideas for the elderly – there’s something for everyone.
Knitting is a fabulous hobby and one of the most popular craft activities for seniors. Although you might not be ready to knit a Fair Isle jumper straight away, there are plenty of beginners’ knitting projects to try. For example, you can knit a lovely scarf using only garter stitch (that’s where you simply knit on every row and don’t need to worry about purling).
If you’ve never learnt to knit or it’s a long time since you last picked up your needles, ask a friend to teach you, or look up videos on YouTube – you can simply rewind if there’s an instruction you didn’t quite catch, so this is a great option. Knitting is also a lovely skill to pass on to the next generation – start your grandchildren on garter stitch and they’ll soon be away.
Charities are often in need of knitted items, such as blankets for the homeless, or small knitted hats for premature babies, so there are so many projects you could get stuck into. Check out the Innocent Big Knit too, which the brand runs every year in conjunction with Age UK. They ask for tiny knitted hats – small enough to fit on the top of one of their smoothie bottles – as part of a promotion every winter.
If you’re looking for ideas for Christmas crafts for elderly people, knitting mini stockings to string together to form a homemade advent calendar is a lovely idea that doesn’t require too much work.
Next on our list of craft ideas for elderly people is crochet, which some people prefer to knitting, as it requires just one needle – but it also involves completely different stitches.
Again, YouTube can be a great resource for learning how to crochet, and if you’re living in a care home or retirement community, there are bound to be other people around who can teach you and help you resolve any beginners’ mistakes.
Once you’ve mastered crocheting a basic granny square, the world of crochet will be your oyster, and you’ll soon be making everything from blankets and throws to cushion covers and cardigans.
3. Painting Or Drawing
Painting and drawing are really accessible crafts as they require just a few basic materials, which is why we’ve included them on our list of the best craft activities for seniors.
You’ll of course need good paper or canvas, and paints, pastels, or pencils to work with. Watercolours can be a good place to start, especially if you’re working on relatively small designs.
Making a painting of a loved one or of a scene that you’ve enjoyed together can make a beautiful gift that they’ll be sure to treasure forever.
4. Cross Stitch
Cross stitch is another of our favourite easy craft ideas for the elderly, as it can be an incredibly mindful activity. Cross stitch requires patience to see a picture come together, but this can be brilliantly rewarding.
Get started with a small kit, such as a bookmark, and work your way up – you’ll soon be hooked. You can even buy cross stitch kits to recreate famous works of art, including paintings by L.S. Lowry and Vincent Van Gogh.
Cross stitching while you have the radio on or even while you’re listening to an audiobook can be wonderfully relaxing, and can keep both your hands and your mind busy.
Tapestry is a little like cross stitch, but with a few differences: it uses a much thicker thread than cross stitch, and instead of making an ‘x’ for every stitch, tapestry requires what’s known as a tent stitch, which can be made with a single diagonal line.
When it comes to easy craft ideas for the elderly, tapestry is arguably a little more straightforward than cross stitch, as many kits have the picture you’re trying to create printed onto the fabric. This can make it easier to count your stitches to keep track of your progress and ultimately form the bigger picture.
You might not expect to see weaving on a list of easy craft ideas for the elderly, but it can be done at home on a small scale.
You may want to invest in a small loom, which will require you to pass a shuttle under and over, and back and forth across lines of weave to create your design. You can also work on a much smaller scale, weaving ribbons and other strips of fabric through pieces of hessian or other fabric.
Weaving requires repetitive motions, which can be soothing, and it’s incredibly rewarding as you see your design grow.
7. Card Making
One of the best Christmas crafts for elderly people has to be card making. A homemade card adds an extra personal touch to a special occasion, or even if someone’s grieving.
Making cards can be a lovely way to spend a few hours and channel your creativity, and you can do this with very basic supplies. Gather pieces of card, different handmade papers, stickers, and other crafty bits and unleash your creativity. You could also incorporate elements of other crafts, such as small cross stitches or even a miniature watercolour painting to add an extra special touch.
8. Mindful Colouring
Colouring in can be a wonderfully relaxing activity, and there’s no reason why it has to just be for little ones. There are so many adult colouring books available nowadays, which is why we’ve included this with our favourite craft activities for seniors.
You can buy mindful colouring books featuring everything from intricate mandala designs to scenes from your favourite TV show – there’s something to suit everyone.
The repetitive motions of colouring can be soothing and calming, and it’s lovely to be able to see your progress as you go. Brighten up your living space with your finished pieces, or simply enjoy being able to complete a creative project in one evening.
9. Making Twiddlemuffs
You might not have heard of twiddlemuffs before, but you might have seen them. Twiddlemuffs are homemade items that are often used for stimulation and comfort by people living with dementia and other degenerative conditions. They’re often both used by and made by people living in care homes, so we had to include them on our list of craft activities for seniors.
Twiddlemuffs typically comprise strips of fabric, or perhaps a knitted muff, that’s adorned with buttons, loops of wool, and other items that can be touched and played with. This can provide a source of comfort for anxious or shaking hands, and a little stimulation for people living with dementia.
Charities that work with the elderly often ask for twiddlemuffs, so if you have lots of crafty odds and ends to use up, this could be a great way to put them to use and support a good cause.
10. Clay Modelling
Last on our list of easy craft ideas for the elderly is clay modelling, using polymer clay, which is a little bit like Play-Doh for grown-ups. Polymer clay comes in lots of different colours, and it quickly warms up after being kneaded in your hands, so you can mould it into shapes.
You can use polymer clay to make everything from jewellery to little decorative pots and bowls, and even Christmas decorations. Clay modelling can be a fun activity for all the family, with seniors and grandchildren alike able to channel their creativity through this fun craft.
Care Home Activities At New Care Homes
At New Care homes, our residents have the opportunity to take part in a packed, varied programme of care home activities, which includes everything from crafts to exercise sessions.
All of the activities we offer are designed to promote residents’ physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. Our care home staff have received training as part of the Oomph! Programme to deliver stimulating activities for residents. What’s more, our communal areas are designed to encourage conversation and activities such as playing cards, so our residents are never bored.