For seniors, crafting may be intricate. They tend to have age-related issues like arthritis and limited dexterity.
This can make even simple sewing or weaving a challenge. However, there are many things that they still do to enjoy crafting.
Read on for my top 6 crafts for seniors with limited dexterity.
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6 Easy Crafts for Seniors with Limited Dexterity
I’ve tried a lot of arts and crafts for seniors with my uncle with varied success. Some have ended up being much too difficult for him because of his limited dexterity, while others are far too simple.
The crafts below, however, seem to be in the sweet spot and should be accessible for aging adults with varying levels of dexterity.
Check out these craft ideas for seniors with shaky hands and find craft activities that are fun and easy.
Scrapbooking is a fun and favorite craft that will bring out that sense of creativity in any individual, especially in seniors.
It uses inexpensive supplies and materials that can be readily available in any household.
Materials can be anything from colored papers to old magazines and photos that can serve as mementos for those special moments in your senior’s life.
Check out this video to get some basic ideas about how scrapbooking works and what materials are recommended for anyone new to scrapbooking.
Check More: Easy Crafts for Adults With Arthritis
2. Polymer Clay Modeling
Just like children, clay is a good way of getting the hands and fingers to work while having loads of fun.
Getting into clay sculpting is a way of letting those creative juices flow.
Clay is relatively easy to handle, so even individuals with limited dexterity limits can easily engage in this fun project at a leisurely pace.
Cookie cutters can be used to make different kinds of clay shapes.
These can be made to harden using a simple hairdryer and turned into wonderful gifts and souvenirs.
This video gives some tips and advice for beginners who want to learn polymer clay basics.
3. Geometric Tape Painting
While actual painting may be quite a challenge for seniors with limited dexterity, geometric tape painting is an excellent craft that can result in gorgeous abstract paintings.
All that is needed for this is:
Simply place different tape sizes all over the canvas in different directions and paint over these tape pieces.
You may get pretty amazed at what you can come up with using this abstract painting technique.
Check out this video to get a better picture of doing geometric tape painting.
4. Blow Painting
Another painting activity that seniors with limited dexterity can engage in is blow painting.
It is an enjoyable activity that slowly makes a comeback that needs only three basic materials:
Straws with big holes are preferable for this kind of activity.
All you need to do is spread some paint on paper or canvas and blow it into the straw, directing the air towards the paint so that it creates splatters on the paper.
This video will show you the proper way of doing blow painting, especially if you are starting.
Check More: Arts and Crafts for Dementia Patients
5. Container Gardening
Many seniors love the idea of gardening since it happens to be a relaxing activity for them.
They are, however, easily turned off by the idea of having to bend or handle tools that may be difficult to hold in their age.
Container gardens limit the plants’ area, so seniors are not forced to bend or move in uncomfortable positions due to mobility challenges.
Plants can be placed in a small clay pot or mason jars that have been repurposed for planting.
Choose plants that are easy to handle and that won’t require much caring and maintenance, like herbs and cacti.
6. Making Gift Baskets
All you need for this craft for seniors are baskets that you can easily purchase in second-hand stores or craft stores.
You can use a glue gun and art/craft materials like dried flowers, ribbons, bead necklaces, and different kinds of paper to decorate the baskets.
Fill them up with different items like a bunch of groceries or fruit for that perfect gift, especially during the holiday season.
This video can give you some ideas about decorating a gift basket that will be perfect for giving to friends or loved ones.
3 Things to Consider When Crafting with Limited Dexterity
Limited dexterity means limited movement. This is especially true when we talk about fine motor skills, which also deteriorate as people age .
#1 Keep Safety in Mind
Safety has to be of primary concern due to these limitations.
Make sure that you use materials and instruments that are large enough and easy to handle to avoid injury.
Avoid using sharp objects, such as pointed scissors, which may be a source of accidents. Scissors with blunt ends instead are better suited for those with dexterity issues.
#2 Patience is Key
Patience is the key to keeping seniors engaged. It is vital that they feel relaxed and not rushed when doing these activities.
#3 Amount of Time the Activity Takes
The length of time it will take to finish a project doesn’t matter much. Keep in mind that they are not as agile as they used to be.
The main objective is to keep them as active as possible.
Can crafting help maintain cognitive function in a senior with limited dexterity?
Yes, it can. Studies have shown that combined physical activity, such as arts and crafts, can significantly improve aging individuals’ cognitive function and mood .
What should be remembered when introducing a crafting activity to a senior with limited dexterity?
Safety should be a primary consideration when introducing a crafting activity to seniors.
Growing old may limit people from performing certain activities.
Nevertheless, some activities are enjoyable to do that can still be fun and relaxing for seniors, despite the physical limitations that come with age.
Crafting is one way of encouraging them to socialize and relax and has tons of health benefits.
Indeed, it is an activity that will be good not only for their physical wellbeing but for their emotional and mental health as well.
- 1. Seidler RD, Bernard JA, Burutolu TB, Fling BW, Gordon MT, Gwin JT, et al. Motor control and aging: Links to age-related brain structural, functional, and biochemical effects. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews [Internet]. 2010;34:721–33. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2838968/
- 2. Kim D. The effects of a combined physical activity, recreation, and art and craft program on ADL, cognition, and depression in the elderly. Journal of Physical Therapy Science [Internet]. 2017;29:744–7. Available from: https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jpts/29/4/29_jpts-2016-999/_article
What are your favorite crafts for seniors with limited dexterity? Share with us below!
Claire is a registered nurse with experience in freelance medical writing. She is very passionate about geriatric nursing and seniors care and education (it is her favorite area of nursing). She worked with many seniors in a variety of medical settings to provide high-quality education and instructions about medical conditions and proper self-care. Follow her on LINKEDIN. Read her LATEST POSTS. Learn more about her HERE.