5 Benefits of Coloring for Older Adults

In the old days, coloring meant a box of crayons and a book of cartoon characters. But if you’ve graduated from Mother Goose to mindful mandalas, you know that coloring books are all grown up now. Adult coloring books open up a world of creativity and fun that many of us haven’t experienced since we were children.

Medical and mental health professionals are finding that coloring has many therapeutic benefits for adults of all ages. You have probably heard about some of the ways that coloring can help relieve stress, improve mental clarity, and promote relaxation. The benefits are so great, in fact, that some doctors are even “prescribing” coloring books to their patients. (Do you think your insurance would cover a new set of GelWriters? Doctor’s orders!)

The positive effects of coloring can be especially beneficial for older adults and seniors, who are more likely to be facing health concerns associated with aging. One study found that adults 65 or older who engage in creative activities make fewer visits to the doctor, use less medication, and have fewer health problems!

Here are just a few of the many ways that coloring benefits seniors:

1. Adult Coloring Creates Social Activities

Coloring groups are an easy and fun way for seniors to get together and socialize, whether in a retirement community or at a local coffee shop or library. It’s also inclusive for those with limited mobility who may not be able to participate in more physically demanding activities. Bonus: Coloring is a wonderful way for grandparents to spend time with their grandchildren and share something that they both enjoy!

older adults socializing at a diner


2. Adult Coloring Provides Stress Relief

The transition to retirement, physical ailments, general boredom, and changing life conditions are stressful for older adults. Adult coloring books are a great way to calm the mind and body, promote relaxation, and reduce stress and anxiety. Studies show that reducing stress is a key factor in lowering blood pressure and heart rate, so you really can color for your health!

3. Adult Coloring Boosts Physical and Mental Health

Many aging adults begin to lose muscle coordination and control in their hands and arms, making daily activities more difficult. Coloring or drawing can help seniors maintain manual dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and other fine motor function.

The act of coloring exercises both the right and left sides of the brain, using both logic and creativity. This supports long-term cognitive health and helps with daily problem-solving and decision-making.

benefits of coloring for older adultsAdult Coloring Aids 3. Adult Coloring Aids Communication

Creative activities like coloring can help adults recovering from a stroke or who have conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s, which make it difficult to communicate verbally. Using coloring books has a calming effect on the brain, and can decrease agitation and frustration by providing a way to express thoughts and feelings without words.

4. Start Your Coloring Book Today

Many older adults haven’t colored since they were young children—but it’s never too late to uncover a buried artistic talent!

If you are looking for an adult coloring book for yourself or a loved one, check out these books specifically designed for seniors. They feature interesting designs with less intricate patterns than some of the coloring pages available now.

Have you recently rediscovered coloring in retirement? We’d love to hear what you think about it! Share your stories and your artwork with us on Facebook.