No matter what our age is, we all have a creative streak. However, it may not necessarily be associated with what we usually think of as creativity, such as artistic works, music, or literature. Creativity can be any form of self-expression or imagination, and it has some surprising psychological benefits.
I became very aware of this during the lockdown days of the pandemic, when I couldn’t visit my clients in person. It was a difficult time for seniors and their families, with social isolation especially rough for seniors who lived alone. However, some of my clients coped with loneliness and uncertainty by keeping busy with some creative pursuit.
For my client Jake, 82 years old, building wooden birdhouses and whirligigs became a new hobby he took up when he couldn’t visit with his family due to Covid. Jake had been a master carpenter and woodworker before he retired, but he hadn’t built anything in years. However, he still had all his tools and an ample supply of plywood and lumber stored in his garage.
“I’m really having fun with this,” he told me. “My neighbors are asking me now to make things for them.”
Another client, Jeanine, took up knitting, quilting, and sewing. “It took me 5 months, but I finally finished a gorgeous quilt. I’m giving it to my daughter for her birthday.”
Whether it’s working on an oil painting, designing a garden, playing a musical instrument, writing a poem, sculpting clay, or cooking a gourmet dinner, creative acts can help focus your mind and spark joy. Being ‘in the zone,’ when you’re totally immersed in what you’re doing, has calming effects on the brain and body similar to meditation.
“I’m happy that I didn’t lose all my sewing skills,” Jeanine said. “I knew that saving all the boxes of fabric and yarn would come in handy some day!”
Creativity can reduce anxiety, depression, and stress. A research study at Drexel University found that subjects making art felt more relaxed after just 45 minutes, and their levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, decreased. Plus, the participants wanted to make more art after the study ended.
What do you enjoy doing that inspires you? Keeping our creative spirit alive is what makes life meaningful and fulfilling, no matter how old you are.
If you or someone in your family are facing aging challenges, please give us a call at 877-337-0922 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org”. We’ll be happy to assist!