Benefits of Coloring for the Elderly

Coloring, in general, is a very relaxing and creative activity. In the last few years, adult coloring has taken off. A lot of people tend to use it at the beginning of their day to bring some creativity and relaxation to their day; or, they like to end their day by coloring to relieve some stress. Coloring is also highly beneficial when used as an activity for senior citizens. 

Seniors receive many benefits while coloring. Many of them include:

  • Improves mood
  • Relieves stress
  • Reduced agitation
  • Promotes socialization and reminiscing
  • Provides an outlet for self-expression
  • It helps maintain motor functions
  • Improves dexterity
  • Increases hand-eye coordination
  • Encourages cooperation
  • Promotes mindfulness
  • Provides a sense of accomplishment

As you can see, I have listed eleven benefits of coloring for seniors to use as tools. Seniors are known for their love of creative activities, with coloring being one of their favorite activities to enjoy. This article will enlighten you as to why senior citizens live to color, as well as highlight the many benefits they get from this activity. 

Improves Mood

Lots of seniors experience boredom or a sense of hopelessness. They are also known for having a substantial amount of mood swings, often accompanied by a lack of interest in most activities. Seniors also tend to display their emotions negatively, eventually giving up on most of their hobbies. 

Using coloring as a tool to improve seniors’ moods has become commonplace. Using bright colors on shapes, pictures, or just freehanded drawing, can be beneficial in improving mood. Many seniors color during their downtime, often while watching their favorite shows. This activity is easily set up, requiring minimal effort. There is also practically no mess to clean. Another benefit of coloring is that it can be done at practically any time of day. 

The next time you are with one of your beloved senior citizens, try spending a little time coloring with them. While it may not seem like you are doing something incredibly significant, what you are doing for your loved one’s mood and mindset is incredible. 

Relieves Stress

Using coloring as a method of stress relief is the main reason for its popularity and appeal to adults and seniors. Coloring can relieve many different types of stress, whether it is from a long day, the stress of being stuck inside all day, per many other things that life can throw at you. 

Coloring is also a great way to use a little self-expression to relieve stress. Allowing the elderly to be creative is a great way to alleviate stress by allowing them to focus on their coloring instead of their issues, such as feelings of abandonment, a sense of hopelessness, or malaise.

By incorporating coloring into the daily routine of a senior citizen, I do not doubt that you will see a marked improvement in their overall mood as well as a smile on their faces because they are focusing on being creative instead of being depressed.

Reduces Agitation 

Agitation is directly linked to anxiety, and it is a common problem for elderly adults. They tend to worry about most things, which can be quite damaging and exhausting to their bodies and their minds. Coloring can provide a way for senior citizens to be less agitated and anxious. 

Coloring has been used in many studies to relieve adults’ stress. It helps people to calm down and focus on other things rather than what is making them anxious. For example, if an elderly person is suffering from anxiety due to their living arrangement or housing situation, coloring can help them stop focusing on their surroundings and start focusing on something productive.

Promotes Socializing and Reminiscing

If there are two things that I have found that elderly people like to do, it is to socialize and reminisce. This is quite common amongst the elderly, especially in groups. Coloring with a group of friends gives senior citizens the chance to socialize and reminisce, which can work wonders for their memories. 

There are many classes available for senior citizens to take that will give them the chance to socialize with their friends. Some of these classes include arts and crafts, painting, woodworking, and coloring. Though these classes may Inspire creativity, most of them hope to allow seniors to have the chance to socialize with people who are the same age. They may also have the chance to catch up with an old friend.

Provides an Outlet for Self-Expression

Expressing yourself can be difficult, especially for the elderly. Most seniors feel like they are a burden, so they do not have the chance to express themselves very often. Coloring is an activity that gives senior citizens a chance to indulge in self-expression.

Coloring can be used to express a wide array of emotions and feelings. Whether they choose to display their works of art or if they prefer to keep their coloring private, the sense of self-expression that the elderly can gain from activities like coloring is invaluable.

If you are concerned about someone you love who is elderly, sitting down and coloring with them for an hour or two is a great way to get them to open up and express how they are feeling.

Helps to Maintain Motor Functions

Senior citizens often have problems with their motor functions as they age. Coloring is a great activity that is highly beneficial for the elderly to maintain and build on their motor skills. Most of the focus on the many benefits of coloring for senior citizens is based on their mental faculties. However, their physical abilities and fine motor skills are also of significant importance. 

According to Color Psychology, the actions, motions, and precise grip involved in coloring can aid in the development and maintenance of the muscles of the fingers, hands, and wrist. I have watched many senior citizens struggle with small gripping objects, as well as having problems with dropping things. Coloring can help them with these issues.

If you know a senior citizen who has expressed concern with the loss of their motor skills as they age, recommending coloring regularly can help them vastly improve their skills and alleviate many of their concerns.

Improves Dexterity

The definition of dexterity is the skill of performing tasks, especially with your hands. According to, activities that focus on dexterity and fine motor skills help to build muscles in the fingers, hands, and wrists. This is also especially beneficial in developing coordination. Activities that emphasize dexterity, such as coloring, Aid in developing or maintaining cognitive, social, and motor abilities.

Exercises and activities that focus on dexterity also assist in improving the immune system and bone density, according to the United Methodist Hospital. Many seniors don’t get the exercise or creative activities needed for them to maintain good mental and physical health. Coloring is an activity that can help most senior citizens retain most of their faculties, as well as possibly improve on them.

Increases Hand-Eye Coordination 

Hand-eye coordination is one of the many things that seniors tend to lose as they age. As seniors become older, they have trouble handling small objects and drop things quite often. The activity of coloring is highly beneficial to developing hand-eye coordination in children and helps seniors regain some coordination they may have lost.

According to the website The OT Toolbox, coloring helps to develop and maintain bilateral coordination. People can also build strength and dexterity in their dominant hand by using their non-dominant hand as a stabilizer while coloring. This can be especially helpful to senior citizens who are having trouble with their handwriting, as coloring helps improve the coordination needed for handwriting.

If you know a senior who is struggling with any of the issues mentioned in this section, I would suggest reintroducing them to coloring. It’s a good way to spend time with loved ones, as well as ineffective means to develop or improve hand-eye coordination.

Encourages Cooperation

As you get older, it can become more difficult to cooperate with others. Coloring is an activity that almost anybody can do, and it encourages cooperation among those who are coloring together. Most senior citizens that I have had the pleasure of knowing are fiercely independent. Those I have known are also rather uncooperative. The act of cooperating with others is a valuable social skill that needs to be retained as we age.

According to Hopkins Medicine, one of the best methods you can use to get a loved one to cooperate better with you is to get them to accomplish a task that you know they are capable of performing. Getting an elderly loved one to sit down for a coloring session might be the opening you have been searching for to get them to cooperate more with you and others.

Promotes Mindfulness

The Mayo Clinic’s definition of mindfulness is “a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment.” One of the most significant benefits of practicing mindfulness is that it allows you to relax your body and mind while also reducing stress. Coloring is a perfect way for senior citizens to practice mindfulness in their daily lives and activities.

People who spend a lot of time thinking negative or random thoughts are far more likely to become anxious or agitated. Practicing mindfulness will deter people from this way of thinking and encourage people to engage in the world around them. Two highly effective methods for practicing mindfulness are meditation and engaging in creative activities, such as coloring or arts and crafts.

Coloring is a perfect way for the elderly to practice mindfulness. If you have a loved one who is elderly, try to encourage them to take a coloring class with other people their age.

Check out more coloring information for seniors HERE.

Provides a Sense of Accomplishment 

Whether they are young or old, everybody likes the feeling of accomplishing something. While it may initially seem rather insignificant, an activity as small as coloring can provide an elderly person with a sense of accomplishment that they have not felt in quite some time. The sensation of accomplishing a task, no matter how small, can fill one with a sense of pride that can carry over into other aspects of their life.

Miami Home Care Services states that one of the advantages of being a senior citizen is that you take a sense of pride in your accomplishments. Pride and self-confidence are two of the most important aspects of fighting depression. Taking time to engage in an activity such as coloring with a senior citizen will give them a sense of pride in accomplishing something. However, there is no substitute for the boost in self-confidence that this will give them.


In conclusion, if you know a senior citizen who appears to be struggling with their mood; carrying a lot of stress; becoming more agitated or anxious; expressing a desire to socialize or reminisce; needs an outlet for self-expression; wants to maintain their motor skills; needs to improve dexterity; desires to improve their hand-eye coordination; has to learn to cooperate; should be practicing mindfulness, and could benefit from a sense of accomplishment, coloring is the right activity for them.

While coloring is traditionally thought of as an activity for children, people of all ages are using coloring for the many reasons I have listed in this article. Studies have shown that coloring and other creative activities are especially beneficial to the well-being of senior citizens. If you have an elderly person in your life that you love, encourage them to color. Trust me when I tell you that you will see a world of difference in your loved one.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Should I purchase an adult coloring book, or will any coloring book do?

There are coloring books that are designed specifically for adults, with complicated designs and pictures that require an advanced level of coloring skill. However, coloring is all about enjoyment. If you prefer to color with your children using one of their coloring books, there is nothing wrong with that. However, if you want a more advanced coloring book, you can purchase an adult coloring book. 

How does coloring benefit children?

The benefits of coloring for young children are quite similar to the benefits that the elderly get from this activity. Coloring helps children to develop motor skills, as well as muscles in their hands, wrists, and fingers. Coloring also gives children a sense of accomplishment while also improving their hand-eye coordination. Another benefit of coloring shared by the elderly and children is that it gives them both a sense of accomplishment.

Maximize the benefits of coloring with my free adult coloring eBook and by signing up for my email newsletter HERE!

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Shawn C

Hi! I’m Shawn and I Love Coloring and Art and the people in it! I created this website as a resource to help those who are considering getting into adult coloring. My website is your one-stop destination for all the inspired instruction and resources you need to start and grow your adult coloring hobby. From geometric to floral to zen doodles and from time to time even mandala’s when I am in the mood. I have researched and gathered the information to help you in your goal of starting your adult coloring hobby.

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