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Senior Citizen Crafts

Updated on August 8, 2013

Keep your elderly loved one occupied with some senior citizen craft ideas

As the caregiver to my 94 year old Mom, Gertie, I'm aware of the need to keep her mind active and, one way to do just that, is by offering some great senior citizen craft ideas. Now, granted, my Mom's arthritic hands keep us from doing a whole lot of senior citizen crafts but she does like watching me do certain crafts. Her favorite senior citizen craft, if you can stretch it to call it that, is licking the bowls after I make some sort of tasty dessert treat or, even better, when she gets to eat a whole dessert shooter I've concocted. She's her daughter's little helper...until I have to clean her up...

Anyway, I digressed...

This Squidoo article is dedicated to all of those among us who are helping care for the elderly. Unless you walk in these shoes, you have no idea how rewarding and, upon occasion, heartbreaking caring for the elderly may be.

Update 3/30/12: Mom died peacefully Feb 15, 2012 surrounded by friends and loved ones. She is missed very much but, in true Gertie fashion, the show must go on so that's what I'm struggling to do.

A plaque I came across that says it all

A plaque I came across that says it all
A plaque I came across that says it all

Please visit my accompanying article: Senior citizen gift ideas - from one who knows.

senior citizen craft idea collage
senior citizen craft idea collage

A great senior citizen craft idea is a collage

Making collages is a wonderful way to spend some quality time with a favorite senior citizen. Even with arthritic fingers and reduced dexterity, a senior can still direct you where to lay out pictures or other trinkets to be included in the collage. And, what a fabulous gift for family members to receive a picture collage that grannie or grandpa put together - it will be cherished for generations to come.

When creating collages, think outside the box. You might want to include scraps of fabric which have some meaning, such as pieces of old quilts or blankets, or favorite shirts that are no longer worn. Include pictures of family members, pets, homes, etc. Search old photo albums and scan the photos so that you don't destroy the originals.

The collage in this module is of my family and favorite friends. I love looking at it and seeing something new every time.

For a very good Squidoo lens about making collages, check out my friend Peggy's (ScarletOhairy) lens Making collages.

Learn to make collages - a great senior citizen craft.

The below books will get your started on your career of teaching a senior citizen to make collages.

Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional. ~Chili Davis

Potholders - they're not just for kids anymore - another great senior citizen craft

You might laugh at this but I love making potholders! And, they're useful for many uses such as putting under a potted plant to sop up water or under a dog's water bowl for the same purpose. They're also fun to give away and see the reaction of those who are the "glad" (?) recipients...

senior citizen craft idea mosaic
senior citizen craft idea mosaic

How about making a mosaic for a great senior citizen craft idea?

My Bubbie (Jewish name for grandmother) made the menorrah in this module when she was in her 80s. I can't even express how important this mosaic is to me - it's a true connection between us.

At that time when Bubbie was crafting this menorah mosaic, she still had enough dexterity in her hands to use a small hammer to make the mosaic pieces small enough to be laid out properly. But, if your senior citizen friend can't do the entire mosaic process alone, that's an even better reason to sit down for a few hours and spend some quality time with them.

Mosaics can be anything you want, get creative!

Some great books about making mosaics

If you're like me and only did a mosaic in 5th grade (or was it 3rd?....), you might need some help learning how to do this senior citizen craft idea. The below book appear to be decent resources.

senior citizen craft idea sculpting clay
senior citizen craft idea sculpting clay

Clay work as a senior citizen craft idea

If your senior citizen friend is not plagued by arthritis, some of the molding clays on the market could be very fun senior citizen craft ideas. I use Sculpee but there are other brands on the market. Regardless of the sculpting clay brand you purchase, all of them come in a bevy of colors and all of them require a baking process (in the oven) to cure and harden.

I used to mold sculpee around wine classes for a very cool design on the stem - note, molding clays cannot be put in the dishwasher so think about that when you decide what projects to take on. Just like making collages, think outside the box and make some fun projects with molding clay. Votive candles, picture frames, and mason jars are just a few things that you could use as a vehicle for sculpting clay. Consider helping your senior citizen friend make some beads for a necklace for one of their grandchildren or a small figuring which will be treasured for years to come.

Sculpey modeling clay books on Amazon

When I started working with Sculpey, I was totally amazed at the things one can do with the stuff. Mom loved to see what I'd come up with and added a lot of guidance about how to improve my designs.

The below books all have marvelous ideas that can easily be tailored to a senior citizen craft. Have fun.

Senior Citizen Craft Idea... - ...Jigsaw puzzles

Although I used to love doing jigsaw puzzles with Mom, her (and my) failing eyesight means that it's a bit more difficult these days to sit around a puzzle and find the correct pieces. When we did jigsaw puzzles though, it was a great time to just sit and chat as we worked the puzzle.

If your senior citizen still has good eyesight, a jigsaw puzzle might be the missing piece (pun intended) in finding crafts to do together. I particularly recommend doing a jigsaw puzzle with a retro picture. It might trigger memories you never would have heard.

I'd love any comments or suggestions you may have on this lens about senior citizen craft ideas. Please leave me comments.

Are you crafty?

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    • mariacarbonara profile image

      mariacarbonara 4 years ago

      I would love to play with some modelling clay myself. Used to do that a lot as a kid, make little farm houses and paint them

    • Onemargaret LM profile image

      Onemargaret LM 5 years ago

      Wonderful lens! My mother is 84. I am glad to still have her with me. God bless you and yours!

    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 5 years ago from East Central Florida

      Your Mo was so lucky to have had you for a daughter. God Bless her - and you.

    • KReneeC profile image

      KReneeC 5 years ago

      Bless your heart for caring for your mother and keeping her mind stimulated! Such a wonderful lens!

    • iijuan12 profile image

      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      Nice! At some point I'd like to take my kids to help out with crafts at the retirement home near our house. We've gone a couple times during the holidays, but I'd love to make it a regular event. These are some good craft ideas we could eventually use.

    • lbrummer profile image

      Loraine Brummer 5 years ago from Hartington, Nebraska

      I love the collage of family and friends. What a great idea!! I very much enjoyed this lens.

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 5 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      I'm doing crafts with the ladies in my Mom's alzheimer unit each week. Thank you for some great ideas.

    • KayeSI profile image

      KayeSI 5 years ago

      I really enjoyed seeing your easy and fun ideas and crafts for our beloved seniors. Great ideas. I'll have to give some of them a try with my senior mom AND my grandkids. :)

    • bossypants profile image

      bossypants 5 years ago from America's Dairyland

      Once again, a wonderful gift of a lens for helping others to find ways to spend cherished time with their older friends and family members. Crafting together is a terrific way to focus on positive things and create treasures together. Genius idea!

    • Lauriej1 profile image

      Lauriej1 5 years ago

      Great lens! Thankfully, my mother is still able to do some sewing, and she loves to make my younger girls dress - up costumes. It keeps her busy, and makes my girls happy. :)

    • profile image

      DJHughes 5 years ago

      Really nice lens. I like a lot of these ideas!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Excellent and, once again, Gertie's smile says it all! I love the idea of the antique oval frame for the collage. Obviously, you come from a line of talented crafter's by the looks of your Bubble's mosaic. Very nice, tried an true ideas...I love working with polymer clay.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 6 years ago

      Yes I am crafty! And, you have got me wondering what the crafts will be when I old and gray?

    • MagpieNest profile image

      MagpieNest 6 years ago

      How about flower pressing? It's a good way to connect with nature even if you can't get outdoors.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Back to check out your senior crafts. There are some great ideas here for all ages!

    • Gayle Mclaughlin profile image

      Gayle 6 years ago from McLaughlin

      What a beautiful idea. My sister has multiple sclerosis and I struggle with thinking of things to keep her active. Your ideas are very creative!

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 6 years ago from Canada

      This is a wonderful article on aging issues as is always your style. Great craft ideas for the elderly. Best of wishes.

    • profile image

      poutine 6 years ago

      Not very crafty, but you've got good ideas here. I like the collage.

    • profile image

      anilsaini 6 years ago

      nice lens

    • gottaloveit2 profile image
      Author

      gottaloveit2 6 years ago

      @Virginia Allain: It's difficult to find something for the aged to do when dexterity and eyesight fails. My mom just likes to lick the bowls when I bake so bake I do.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      My mom used to make crafts all the time, but with cataracts and arthritis she has given up making the yarn pom-pom projects, sewing, and painting on fabric with stencils. Maybe one of these projects would interest her.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image
      Author

      gottaloveit2 6 years ago

      @Scarlettohairy: You're not kidding about the dust collection. i start a whole lot more crafts than I finish.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image
      Author

      gottaloveit2 6 years ago

      @katt61: Bobbi! Stop that!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Yeah, I'm crafty. These are perfect ideas for crafts for seniors. The collage is such a fun idea that will be enjoyed when it's done (unlike many of the dust collectors I tend to make).

    • profile image

      katt61 6 years ago

      I'm crafty - just not the right kind!