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3 Ways Creativity Positively Impacts Memory for Seniors

by Frank Herold
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At one time or another, we're all going to struggle to remember things. Names and faces. Phone numbers and passwords. Little details that used to be so clear begin slipping away. This isn't necessarily a cause for concern. Especially as we age, our brains begin to process information differently. There comes a time, however, when we may decide it's time to do something proactive to keep our minds sharp.

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When that time comes, you should strongly consider art, crafts, music, dance, or something else highly creative. Not only are these activities fun and social: they also benefit our memories as well. 

3 Ways Creativity Positively Impacts Memory for Seniors

Creative activities have an impact far beyond the joy of the moment.

1. Creativity is Strongly Linked to Memory

In recent years, scientists and psychologists have found strong links between creativity and memory.

Creativity is driven by memory.  That means that for any given creativity task, it is crucial to find memories that will help you to perform the task... More broadly, whenever you are in a situation in which you need to solve a creative problem, you need to find ways to reach into your memory to find information that will be relevant to solving the problem. (Psychology Today)

Because of this strong link, creative exercises have long been used to help comfort, assist, and encourage those dealing with various forms of memory loss. 

2. Creativity Helps Stimulate the Brain

Researchers working with the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging recently completed a study that revealed elderly men and women who regularly engaged in arts and crafts activities, had busy social lives, or used computers were more likely to have intact minds and memories than adults who didn't do these activities. 

That's because creativity helps stimulate the brain, and the earlier creative activities are started, the stronger the effects can be.

Brain-boosting creative activities may include:

  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Sewing
  • Knitting
  • Pottery
  • Ceramics
  • Quilting
  • Scrapbooking 

The closer your creative activity is to your day job, the less likely you are to benefit from the full effects. That's because different activities stimulate different parts of the brain. When you engage in hobbies that diverge from what you are already doing in your daily life, however, you can protect neurons from dying and also stimulate the growth of new neurons as well!

3. Creativity Encourages Communication and Socialization

For many years, art therapists have used creativity to help their patients access their memories and stay engaged with the world around them:

Art therapy reaches past cognitive losses to draw out self-expression, emotional release and creativity. A trained instructor can guide participants through the process of interpreting art or creating it themselves.

Whether seniors participate in guided art therapy or simply enjoy arts and crafts in a social setting among their peers, they are able to connect, communicate, and commiserate with those around them in a safe environment. Art not only gives seniors something to talk about, but it also provides new ways for them to express themselves. 

When planning craft ideas for seniors, always bear in mind that some participants may have limited dexterity, deteriorating eyesight, and (in some cases) little patience for following complicated or complex instructions. Simple, fun, and colorful designs are always popular, and creative projects that can be completed in a single sitting are generally preferred over long, complicated, multi-step ones. 

If you're looking for a place where seniors can enjoy fun and creative activities in a safe environment, look no further than Sarasota Bay Club and our memory care unit, Cadbury Park.

Sarasota Bay Club is a luxury, full-service retirement living community located right on Sarasota Bay. To hear more about all we have to offer, including our programs to serve seniors dealing with memory loss, please feel free to contact us.  

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