Physical Benefits of Arts and Crafts for the Elderly | Classy Pal

Physical Benefits of Arts and Crafts for the Elderly

We all know that arts and crafts are fun. They are a way to indulge our creativity and let it run free. It feels good to make something unique. But, did you know engaging in arts and crafts are also beneficial to your health? Yep, that art project you love so much can actually be good for you!

Researchers have found that participating in various artistic activities such as art, theatre, dance, crafting, and music can enhance health and quality of life. And, it appears that the specific activity you choose may be less important than actually participating. The evidence suggests that while observing things like theatre, dance and such, while enjoyable, don’t yield the same kind of benefits.

Crafting is not just fun. It plays an important part in overall health and well-being.

Improved Physical Strength

Maintaining strength is important as we age. It helps us to maintain our independence. When you’re physical strong, you’re able to complete those daily living activities of life (sometimes referred to as ADLs) with no or as little assistance as needed. Physical strength is also associated with a reduced risk of falling. Depending on the activity you choose, crafting can help you to maintain muscle strength and fine motor function.

Stress and Anxiety Reduction

Stress and anxiety are common with older adults. Excess stress is associated with a number of issues including headaches, physical ailments such as pain, fatigue, and cardiovascular issues. It can also impact memory and cognition. You may also fine that you’re calmer and less irritable. Crafting helps to reduce stress by allowing you to release energy in ways that are soothing and pleasurable.

Improved Memory and Cognition

Crafting can help you to keep your brain active and maintain that cognitive flexibility that is so crucial to good brain health. When you are creating something, your brain gets a good workout. It’s doing a million things you aren’t even aware of. Crafting requires you to think about what you’re doing in lots of different ways from visualizing how you might start and all the design decisions along the way. Crafting has been found to improve learning and problem-solving skills in older adults. More important, there is growing evidence to suggest that crafting may play a role in lowering risk of cognitive impairment and dementia.

Improved Self Esteem and Confidence

When we accomplish something, it feels good. When you craft something, you can look at it and think, “I made that!” While it may seem a small thing, that boost of self-confidence and self-esteem goes a long way. People who feel good about themselves tend to also have a better outlook on life, are more likely to care for themselves, and tend to report a better overall quality of life. Crafting something makes you feel accomplished!

Improved Sleep

Of all the things you can do for your well-being, few are more important that getting good restorative sleep. A good night’s sleep is also something that can seem elusive, especially as we age. Engaging in crafts, especially those that use softer materials like knitting (yarn) have been shown to promote relaxation and may be a good choice for someone struggling with sleep. Some research suggests that the softness combined with the repetitive nature of needle crafting like crocheting and knitting might induce the nature’s relaxation response, helping you to wind down and prepare for a good night’s sleep.

Grief Support

Sadly, we sometimes lose someone we love. Coping with a loss is never easy and something many of us are unprepared for. There’s no one way to grieve and finding peace can take time. It may sound counterintuitive, but engaging in something creative can help you process your grief. Crafting can offer you a place to focus on something besides your pain, even for a short while. Creating something gives you a place to release some of the emotional energy you may be holding. And, if you choose, you can create something to honor or remember your loved one. Arts and crafts can be a soothing, enjoyable way to cope during a very difficult time.

Whether you’re looking for something to pass time or looking for something relaxing or just wanting to try something new, arts and crafts just might be your next fun adventure. And, don’t forget, while you’re crafting, ClassyPal has a full line of adult clothing protectors to help you keep your clothing free of spills and splatters. We can’t wait to see what you create!


  1. Noice, T., Noice, H., & Kramer, A. F. (2014). Participatory arts for older adults: a review of benefits and challenges. The Gerontologist54(5), 741–753.
  2. Kim D. (2017). 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 science29(4), 744–747.
  3. Geda, Y. E., Topazian, H. M., Roberts, L. A., Roberts, R. O., Knopman, D. S., Pankratz, V. S., Christianson, T. J., Boeve, B. F., Tangalos, E. G., Ivnik, R. J., & Petersen, R. C. (2011). Engaging in cognitive activities, aging, and mild cognitive impairment: a population-based study. The Journal of neuropsychiatry and clinical neurosciences23(2), 149–154.
  4. Weiskittle, R. E., & Gramling, S. E. (2018). The therapeutic effectiveness of using visual art modalities with the bereaved: a systematic review. Psychology research and behavior management11, 9–24.
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