How Games and Crafts Can Enhance Senior Health

Learn about the many benefits of these activities to seniors’ overall wellbeing.

 

 

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Games and crafts aren’t just fun—they can also bring lasting mental, physical, and emotional rewards when used regularly in senior care. Read on to learn about the many benefits of these activities for seniors. (Caregivers can benefit too!)

 

 

How do these activities improve mental health?

 

 

Games and crafts stimulate the mind and strengthen cognitive abilities. Word finds and crosswords, jigsaw puzzles, trivia games, sudoku, and many other games all boost cognition. Crafts like origami also keep the brain active as seniors learn how to do something new.

 

 

Even some video games can bring benefits for seniors, helping improve memory! In a recent study, researchers found that 3-D games like Super Mario brought cognitive benefits to participants, like memory improvement. 

 

 

What are the physical benefits?

 

 

Many crafts can strengthen motor skills, improving dexterity and even reducing the risk of falling. Games and crafts can have a calming effect, enhancing health by lowering stress and blood pressure. They can also promote joint health and gentle arm movement. Some games like ring toss and miniature golf are especially good for providing low-impact physical activity. 

 

 

Do games and crafts bring emotional rewards?

 

 

Absolutely! Doing games and crafts with friends is a wonderful way to socialize. It can also make visits with loved ones more joyful and fun, say the founders of Dabblesack, a company that provides wonderful games and activities for seniors. Regular involvement in a game with a social group can help seniors maintain a strong sense of self.  

 

 

Arts and crafts can also provide an emotional outlet by fostering self-expression, along with a sense of accomplishment from learning something new or creating something wonderful. Giving a homemade craft as a gift can feel very rewarding! 

 

 

Games and crafts can also lead the brain to release dopamine, which protects against depression and boosts mental health. 

 

 

Craft ideas for seniors

 

 

Here are a few more ideas for crafts that will benefit seniors in multiple ways: 

 

 

  • Painting ceramics
  • Making a collage
  • Crocheting a baby blanket
  • Container gardening
  • Wreath-making
  • Creating a bird feeder

 

 

Avoid any tools that could be hazardous and provide assistance and supervision as needed.

 

 

Game ideas seniors will love

 

 

These games all provide great opportunities to socialize while exercising the mind:

 

 

  • Card games like Bridge and Go Fish
  • Scrabble
  • Mahjong
  • Boggle
  • Chinese Checkers
  • Name That Tune
  • Backgammon

 

 

These activities can become a treasured new hobby as people lose the ability to take part in other activities they once enjoyed (like sports). Taking up a new pastime when an old one is no longer feasible can keep seniors’ lives rich and fulfilling. 

 

 

Sources

 

 

Crisis Prevention Institute, “Activities for Dementia”

https://www.crisisprevention.com/Blog/Activities-for-Dementia

 

 

Dabblesack, “Our Story”

https://dabblesack.com/pages/our-story

 

 

National Institute on Aging, “Video Games Show Potential in Improving Key Aspects of Memory in Older Adults”
https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/video-games-show-potential-improving-key-aspects-memory-older-adults

 

 

Senior Living, “Crafts for Seniors”

https://www.seniorliving.org/life/activities/crafting/

 

 

Seniors Matter, “Engaging in Creative Arts Is Beneficial to the Elderly”

https://www.seniorsmatter.com/engaging-in-creative-arts-is-beneficial-to-the-elderly/2492361