Art therapy for your Parents

As our parent grow older, they have lesser creative & constructive entertainment options. I see most of them resort to those typical ‘saas-bahu’ TV shows, whatsapp or struggling on Facebook.
Perhaps we as children need to rekindle their creative side for two primary reasons, one aging is tough process almost like puberty where one needs time to understand what is happening inside the body & how it is affecting their daily lives, and two because once the kids are all grown up & independent parents are left feeling a bit abandoned. Because they have spent most of their life making us their priority now that we don’t need them so often leaves them with enough time to explore something new.
There are multiple things you can encourage your parents to try based on their interests.
I will talk about my favorite – ART!

Art can be very beneficial  as a therapy for even older adults who need to manage stress or pain, or any sort of illnesses.

Some of the benefits of using art therapy include:

1. Improved brain function:
Painting , sculpting and similar pursuits are a way to challenge the mind and promote cognitive abilities. It is said that act of being creative can serve to uncover connections and passions about the world. For extreme cases of people living with advanced memory loss art therapy can be a way to communicate and offer seniors to be expressive.

2. Reduced stress & channelize positive energy:
The pressure of ageing often makes them cranky, irritable & generally unhappy about things. Not only art therapy is a way to combat signs of dementia but also gives an opportunity to work through anxiety and negative feelings. The calming nature of painting, coloring or other creative pursuits is a way to forget about larger stresses and promote healthy and happy feelings.
Overall art therapy can be a rewarding experience even for individuals who aren’t  specifically living with negative feelings. Coloring’s calming effect can have a positive impact on all adults and a new creative outlet can unlock hidden creativity & positivity.

3. Alleviating pain:
Hypertension, arthritis and other disorders can cause chronic pain and these may be exacerbated by emotional pain or other ailments. Not only the relaxing nature of art therapy reduce these issues but also can reduce physical ailments and stiffness.
Regular art therapy or coloring engages the fingers, arms and hands. The light but consistent physical activity can promote better blood flow and dexterity. With time adults who begin painting or sketching may feel more nimble and experience less pain. For anyone living with arthritis, art therapy won’t stop the chronic pain but relaxation therapy like art therapy can be a way of managing and controlling discomfort.

Now, yes it would be difficult to put in a canvas & paint brush in front of your parents & expect them to dish out masterpieces. 
So I would recommend you start with simple & easy Coloring book.
My Coloring book for adults is called Umeni Therapy, easily available on the Amazon in India on the link below:

It’s easy to carry around, not a messy option as you can use gel pens, color pencils and even pointed crayons to color the book.

The feedback from my older adults group has been fantastic, so it would be great if you introduce this to your parents too.
Happy Coloring!

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