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6 Interesting & Fun CRAFTS for Seniors with Arthritis

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If you’re looking for crafts for seniors with arthritis, I’ve got you.  

Crafting is a great way to maintain fine motor skills that you’ll need for many years to come.

Below, I shared my five favorites that anyone can do, along with tips for success.

Let’s get started!

Also Check: Easy Crafts for Seniors With Dementia

6 Crafts for Seniors With Arthritis They’ll Enjoy Making!

1. Mason Jar Centerpieces

mason jar centerpieces, crafts for seniors with arthritis

This is a relatively easy craft to do for seniors with arthritis that is fit for all skill levels. It doesn’t take much effort and they are perfect for giveaways or for decor during special occasions and events.

The materials are easy to get hold of since you can buy mason glass jars anywhere and you can be creative as to what you can put in them.

The directions below were inspired by Crafts by Amanda and use fresh flowers that are perfect for a sunny afternoon get-together, but you can swap the ribbon with lace, paint, or anything else that fits your mood. [1]

Materials Needed

  • Mason Jars, preferably a transparent glass jar
  • Flowers
  • Burlap Ribbon
  • Checkerboard Ribbon
  • Twine
  • Glue Gun

Directions

  • Get a mason and wrap a burlap ribbon around the center to get an idea of the length of the ribbon that needs to be used.
  • Cut the ribbon according to the length needed, making sure that one end slightly overlaps on the other.
  • Get a checkerboard ribbon and cut it around the same length as the burlap ribbon. With the glue gun, stick the checkerboard ribbon on top of the burlap ribbon, preferably around the center, so that the burlap ribbon creates a need margin around the checkerboard ribbon.
  • Wrap the burlap/checkerboard ribbon around the glass jar and place small dots of glue along the glass jar to secure the ribbon in place. Make sure that the ribbon is tightly fit to the jar. Place glue on one end of the ribbon and place the other end of the ribbon on top of it to secure the ribbon in place.
  • Get some twine and wrap it around the area where the ribbon is glued. Add some extra inches to the twine, enough to make a bow when you wrap the twine around the jar.
  • Fold the twine in the middle and glue to the middle portion at the area where the ribbons overlap.
  • Wrap the twine around and secure it by tying it and making a bow.
  • Fill the glass jar with the flowers that you’ve gathered and you’re done!

Check out this video on how to make the perfect mason jar flower arrangement:

2. Knitting

elderly woman knitting, one of the fun crafts for seniors with arthritis

Knitting doesn’t sound like a good craft for seniors with arthritis, but with a few tweaks, it’s actually quite doable.

In fact, some evidence suggests that it can actually help relieve arthritic pain when done right [2]

Plus, it works on those fine motor skills that you’ll need for simple movements such as picking up small objects.

For people with arthritis though, it would be best to keep some tips in mind before engaging in these creative craft activities for seniors in order to lessen the risk of injury.

Tips to Remember Before and While Knitting

  • Do some stretching before knitting. Stretch the fingers and forearms before knitting to avoid any injury or pain since knitting can be stressful to these areas.
  • Use circular needles so you can lay down your work every now and then. Lightweight needles made from acrylic or bamboo are also great when working on your projects.
  • Try using different patterns to get those fingers used to different kinds of fine motor movements.
  • Use bigger needles and yarn so you can easily fix dropped stitches too!

Check out this video and see what stretches you can do before and during knitting.

Also Check: The Crafts With Yarn For Seniors

3. Crocheting

Just like knitting, crocheting is another one of those engaging activities for people with arthritis. It also works on the fingers to enhance and maintain the ability to perform fine motor movements, even at an older age.

senior woman crocheting

Another one of crochet benefits is that, just like knitting, crochet has been shown to reduce the risk of developing diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease, that may result in cognitive impairment. [3]

Crocheting, though, involves much repetitive motion that can cause repetitive strain injuries on the hands and wrists.

The following practices may be done in order to lessen injuries and muscle strain that may be caused by crocheting.

Practices to Follow When Crocheting

  • Soak hands and fingers in warm water to help relax the muscles whenever you feel stiffening.
  • Crochet hooks that have fat handles are more ergonomic and will thus lessen the strain on the wrists and hands.
  • Stop from time to time.
  • Use different stitches and patterns to encourage different movements.

Watch this video for tips on how to crochet as a beginner:

4. Clay Sculpting

Clay sculpting is an activity that isn’t as taxing on the fingers and wrists, unlike knitting and crocheting. It involves a wider range of motion compared to knitting and crocheting too.

senior making a clay art

It’s also a great form of art therapy that can help relieve emotional stress and boredom, and you can tailor it to fit any skill level.

When you’re having a bad arthritis day, you can work with larger pieces. For example, do the basic design of a bowl or a vase. Then, on good days, do the finer detail work.

This video can show you some basics about clay sculpting to see how it’s done and if it is the right fit for you.

5. Flower Gardening

Gardening may sound more like a hobby than a craft, but I think that it’s actually a bit of both.

senior flower gardening

It takes a lot of creativity to plan the perfect flower garden, and when your blooms are ready you’ll have everything you need for that mason jar craft above!

The best thing about gardening is that it’s something that you can do whether you live in a house with a big backyard or a senior living apartment with just a windowsill.

Check out the tips in the video below for ergonomic gardening tips:

6. Scrapbooking

seniors making scrapbook

Scrapbooking is one of my all-time favorite crafts for seniors with arthritis because, like gardening and clay scupting, you can plan the activity around your pain level.

For example, on rough days, you can just plan out where you’d like to place them, or perhaps spend the morning gluing photos into place. Then, on your good days, add the embellishments.

Plus, it’s so much fun to take a stroll down memory lane and remember all of the fond moments you had with the loved ones in the pictures.

Check out the video below for basic beginner scrapbooking tips:

Also Check: 6 Fun Crafts For Seniors With Limited Mobility

Things to Consider While Crafting With Arthritis

The discomfort of arthritis can slow down an individual and limit motor skills.

Things may take a little while longer to do so and it may require a lot of patience on the side of both the senior and caregiver. [4]

Depending on the individual’s dexterity, try to assess if sharp objects may pose additional risk.

For those with severe arthritic conditions, the use of pointed metal needles and sharp scissors may cause more harm than good.

FAQs

Are crocheting and knitting safe for seniors with arthritis?

Happy senior woman working on her knitting skills and making a scarf, a very cute craft

Yes, these are generally safe and fun crafts for seniors to do. Make sure though that the instruments used are not so pointed, especially for those with severe arthritis. 

Are adult crafts recommended for seniors with arthritis?

Absolutely! Crafts help seniors maintain cognitive function and can be a form of therapy. They also help in maintaining motor skills necessary for everyday activities.

Final Thoughts

Arthritic pain can severely impair movement in seniors which can discourage them from engaging in physical activities.

That is why it is important to keep them engaged in hobbies for seniors that will encourage them to perform actual movements.

In this way, they can still continue to live healthy lives and do simple everyday tasks that can help them still continue with some level of independence which they need for both their physical and psychological wellbeing.

References

  • 1. Author. Sunflower Mason Jar Centerpieces [Internet]. Crafts by Amanda. 2020 [cited 2021 Dec 17]. Available from: https://craftsbyamanda.com/mason-jar-centerpieces-sunflowers/
  • 2. Guitard P, Brosseau L, Wells GA, Paquet N, Paterson G, Toupin-April K, et al. The knitting community-based trial for older women with osteoarthritis of the hands: design and rationale of a randomized controlled trial. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders [Internet]. 2018;19. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5813366/
  • 3. Arbouet L. Six Interesting Health Benefits of Crocheting and Knitting [Internet]. Doral Health and Wellness. 2021 [cited 2021 Dec 17]. Available from: https://doralhw.org/2021/08/17/six-interesting-health-benefits-of-crocheting-and-knitting/#:~:text=Crocheting%20and%20knitting%20can%20be
  • 4. Limited Range of Motion [Internet]. Healthline. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/limited-range-of-motion#causes
two elderly men making some crafts for seniors with arthritis

What are your favorite crafts for seniors with arthritis? Share below!

About Liliane

Lilian Wamaitha is a passionate writer and avid cyclist with over 4 years of experience in blogging. As a lifelong learner, she is driven by her curiosity to discover and learn new things. This curiosity and passion eventually sparked a love for the senior writing niche. She has written countless articles to help seniors find their footing in this world through healthy and holistic living. She’s passionate about seeing the seniors in society live a more fulfilling life to the end. Follow her on LINKEDIN. Read her LATEST POSTS. Learn more about her HERE.

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