5 Amazing Arts And Crafts Therapy Ideas That Greatly Benefit Senior Living People With Dementia

Without a doubt, there’s something innately romantic about the idea of the arts being used as a weapon against dementia. It almost borders on being apt, considering the former’s impact on humans over the course of time. 

The arts have remained our refuge and a platform for expressing ourselves, and those residing in assisted living communities and are suffering from dementia are no exception. In fact, we can vouch for these 5 unique arts-related ideas that can help the elderly cope with their dementia. 

  1. Combining Crafts with Planting and Gardening

Planting flowers, doing urban gardening, and taking care of herbs are engaging and refreshing activities enough as they are. What more if we imbue them with arts and crafts? 

Can’t wait for the flowers you planted to bloom? Try to decorate your garden with a few garden-themed crafts for now. Then once they bloom, you can beautify them with other appropriate eye-catching crafts. You can ask them to create brightly-colored mushrooms, for instance, that tower over the greenery. 

Of course, you have to ensure that it’s still well within their capabilities. You won’t run out of ideas for your next creative session if you continue to take inspiration from what nature readily has to offer and what the changing seasons bring along with them. 

  1. Jewelry Making

What’s great about this activity is that there’s no shortage to the number of variations you can introduce to it. Assisted living communities staff can provide multi-colored beads, for example, which the senior community can use to create their own customized bracelets. The beads can be of different sizes and shapes as well to help beat the monotony. 

More often than not, you can use materials that you can get straight from nature that you can then ask them to make as trinkets. 

  • You can ask them to use flat rocks and pebbles and chisel their own engravings on them. All of these materials can be gathered for free from most of the immediate surroundings of senior care communities
  • Breathe new life dead starfish by painting them with colors that suit their present fancy. 
  • It doesn’t have to be too hard or too fancy. The more they are exercising their creativity and independence, the better. 

Don’t underestimate the value of encouraging spontaneity in dementia patients since it’s one of the first few facets of their humanity that tends to slowly fade away during the symptom onset. 

  1. Painting

In painting alone, dementia patients who are receiving senior care can have the greatest freedom to express themselves. It’s also the most basic form of art that naturally stimulates self-expression. 

Be creative in your themes. How about asking them to paint a forget-me-not or two? Think of uplifting subjects as much as possible. Perhaps, after they’re done painting the flower, you can cut its shape for them and turn them into a badge that they can wear? The sky’s the limit in this regard. 

This includes watercolor painting as well. This may seem like a harder form of painting but, with a bit of creativity and in-depth knowledge of your resident’s capabilities, this shouldn’t be much of an issue. We highly recommend this because it doesn’t cause much of a mess and watercolor tends to dry quickly when applied on paper. 

  • If a particular resident is struggling to think of a theme, you can bet on nature-inspired motifs like flowers and seasons like spring and summer. 
  • You may also ask them to pick their favorite flowers in nature and encourage them to paint them. 

Other kinds of color-related activities include coloring books and pages. They’re relatively easier since residents often need to work with pre-drawn illustrations. 

  1. Tie Pillows

What’s great about creating these kinds of pillows is that they serve a practical purpose, too. Sure, it may need a bit more prep time than the others mentioned here, but trust us, it will be well worth it for the residents and the entire senior living community as a whole.

You can practically let them decide on what pattern they’d like to sew onto the fabric. Be prepared to handle the extra expenses for materials, though. Also, try to be as detailed with your instructions.

Most residents may require more assistance than others, so be prepared to give it to them. You’ll be surprised by the number of residents who will come to love and regard this as a favorite craft once you introduce it in your senior care service

It’s the relative difficulty of the craft that undoubtedly gives them this kind of gratification. That feeling should never be deprived of anyone, even dementia patients. 

  1. Print Out Picture Cards

We suggest this with the intention of hitting two birds with one stone. Admittedly, this is an activity that only minimally stimulates the creativity of residents. Basically, you’ll just be asking them to select pictures that catch their fancy or stimulates their aesthetic sense then have them be printed out.

They will be printing two copies of each picture they choose. Do you see where we’re going with this? Essentially, you’ll be asking them to make their own, customized memory game. Any kind of memory care for seniors should consider this idea because it’s probably the most relevant to the condition they’re trying to beat.

What’s great about this idea is that the pictures can be about anything or anyone. They can even print out pictures of their loved ones to help keep their memory of them alive. Now, that’s definitely more than hitting two birds with one stone! 

There’s also a lot of variations you can introduce to the actual game. You can mix and match or just ask them to sort the images into various categories. 


Stimulating creativity and nourishing self-expression go hand in hand with enhancing one’s cognitive abilities. These activities also give them a sense of pride for having created something. Without a doubt, it will tickle their aesthetic tastes as well. Could you name a better alternative that has this unique host of benefits? 

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