We know that children love coloring with crayons, but did you know that this has become a popular pastime for adults, too? Nearly 12 million adult coloring books were sold in the US in 2015. There are some surprising health benefits that come from this simple, pleasurable activity.
Coloring helps stimulate the brain and may help prevent or delay the onset of dementia in senior citizens. Coloring stimulates the frontal lobes, which regulate organization, problem solving, focus and concentration. Both hemispheres of the brain must work together to plan a balanced design, then select and combine colors. The cerebral cortex must also engage to coordinate vision and to enable the fine motor skills required to color the page.
Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Many older adults are troubled with anxiety, particularly as they lose their independence. Psychologists have been prescribing art therapy for their patients for decades to help with anxiety and depression. Coloring Mandalas (designs featuring concentric circles and geometric patterns) can produce a calm, meditative-like state that can soothe and comfort, displacing negative thoughts with more positive ones.
The activity of coloring can transport us. This can be a comforting experience for seniors who may be living apart from loved ones.
Can Be a Group Activity
Coloring is now a social activity. Coloring and conversation go well together. This is a wonderful activity to do with friends, and you can share colored pencils!
Anyone Can Do It
Coloring is a low cost, simple activity that almost everyone can enjoy. Coloring pages can be printed off the Internet if coloring books aren’t available. Designs can be simple or complex, and no artistic ability is required. Coloring is an easy way to get senior citizens involved in making something beautiful. The pictures can be displayed in common areas or on the walls of the artists’ rooms.