Painting for Seniors: Benefits and What to Paint

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As we age, there are a lot of things we can’t do that we were able to do in our younger years. But, this doesn’t mean that we have to just lie down and do nothing all day.

It is important to stay active, and it is just as important to keep our minds active. Luckily, many activities are ideal for seniors, including painting.

Painting offers so many benefits to seniors, and this is something that we are going to discuss today in this article. We will also take a look at some of the best painting projects for seniors.

If you are a senior, or if you have a loved one who is a senior and who needs something to keep their mind and hands occupied, keep reading to learn more.

Why is Art Important for Seniors?

Quite often as we age, we tend to have less and less to do daily. Many seniors feel as though they no longer have a sense of purpose, and often they end up becoming depressed and lonely.

Art is a wonderful way to encourage seniors to get up and do something that will give them that sense of purpose they are missing in their lives. It is also ideal for those who are not as mobile as they used to be because it requires little exertion.

Painting, whether by themselves or with a group, is something that will keep seniors active. It will also help to improve their quality of life.

#1. Painting Helps Those Who Suffer From Dementia

It has been proven that seniors who suffer from dementia can benefit from painting and other types of art projects. It can help to promote healing, both psychological and physiological, and it can help to keep them active. (*) (*) (*)

Studies show that painting can help to restore some cognitive functions, and it is a great way to promote healthy aging. Painting can help with one’s memory, and it is something they can enjoy, both alone and with others.

#2. Painting Helps Seniors Engage with Others

Many seniors find themselves alone much of the time. Even those who are living in rest homes can find it difficult to engage with others.

Painting is a great way for them to be able to engage with others and enjoy an active social life. It can help them with communication, and bring a whole new level of enjoyment into their lives.

#3. Painting Helps Seniors to Relax and Have Fun

Many seniors find that they are no longer able to do some of the activities they loved when they were younger. This is often because they have limited mobility.

Painting is a great way for seniors to be able to relax and have lots of fun. Painting doesn’t require a lot of movement, but it is still a way for seniors to stay active.

#4. Painting Improves Communication Skills

I already mentioned that painting can help seniors to be able to engage with others. It also can help with communication skills.

Let’s say a senior is living in a rest home, but they haven’t been able to connect with other residents. Getting together with a group can help them to improve their communication skills, and make new connections.

#5. Painting Helps with Motor Skills and Hand Coordination

As we age, our motor skills are often not quite what they used to be. We no longer have that brain/hand coordination that we once had.

Painting allows seniors to work with their hands. Even just creating a simple drawing on an artboard can help to improve hand/brain coordination.

#6. Painting Allows Seniors to Be Creative

Since the dawn of time, people have been painting. We see evidence of this in cave paintings done by early man.

When seniors are involved with painting they can be more creative. Even if they are only working on simple painting projects, they can let their creativity shine through in their work.

#7. Painting Gives Seniors More Independence

Many seniors find themselves losing their independence, especially if they have health issues such as degenerative diseases. Often they are unable to do many of the things that they used to do, and others must do things for them.

Having the opportunity to paint helps to give older people more independence. They can use their hands and their minds, which is very satisfying.

#8. Painting is Good for Improved Mental Health

It is not uncommon for older people to find themselves feeling lonely and depressed. They aren’t getting out with friends and family as they used to, and they often find themselves becoming lonely and depressed.

Painting is not only a great way to ease a lot of anxiety, but also excellent for those who want to connect with others.

Easy Painting Ideas for Seniors

One of the great things about painting is that just about everyone can do it, including seniors. It doesn’t matter if one doesn’t have a lot of artistic ability. The fun is in creating something, not to mention being able to interact with other like-minded seniors.

Let’s take a look at some of my favorite painting ideas for seniors.

#1. Painting on Rocks

Painting on rocks is a fun activity for people of all ages, including seniors. Rather than starting a huge painting project, a small rock can be painted in under an hour, making this an ideal activity for seniors who may tire easily.

The designs can be as simple as a smiley face or as challenging as a mini landscape. Seniors can use their imaginations to paint some awesome designs on rocks.

#2. Painting Geometric Shapes Using Tape

Painters’ tape is a great tool for artists. It can be used to create cool paintings with geometric shapes.

These are fun and easy paintings for seniors. They can arrange several strips of tape on their canvases to create triangles and other geometric shapes.

They paint right over the tape, and when the tape is removed it creates spaces between each of the shapes.

#3. Paint By Numbers for Seniors

There are all kinds of simple paint-by-numbers kits available that are ideal for seniors. These kits are inexpensive and found in most stores that sell art supplies, and even at most dollar stores.

Not only will these kits allow seniors to create beautiful paintings, but they will also help with cognitive functions. This is because they will have to match the paints to the numbers on the canvases.

#4. Adult Coloring Books are Ideal for Seniors

Who doesn’t love to use coloring books? They aren’t just for kids, and there are plenty of adult coloring books with pictures that are easy for seniors to color.

They can use these coloring books for the purpose they are meant for, which is coloring. Or, they can use the books to get ideas for their painting projects.

#5. Painting on Fabric

Painting on fabric is loads of fun and a great way to create unique clothing items. There are so many different ways that one can paint on fabric.

I often suggest to seniors that they get some scarves from thrift stores and paint designs on them. Or, they can paint on other items made from fabric, including clothing, blankets, and cushions.

#6. Painting on Pre-Drawn Canvases

If you visit an art supply store you will find many canvases that already have designs drawn onto them. These are ideal for seniors.

All they have to do is use paints to color the pre-drawn designs. Those who don’t feel that they have any drawing ability will be able to create with paint. These projects are ideal for painters of all skill levels.

#7. Painting on Pine Cones

This is a combination crafting/painting project that is easy and loads of fun. All it requires are some pinecones, paints, and brushes.

One of my favorite projects is to add sticks to the bottom of pine cones, and then paint them in bright floral colors. The pinecones can then be arranged in a vase to look like a bouquet of flowers.


Whether a senior is living in a rest home or their own home, painting is a great hobby to keep them engaged and active. It helps with coordination skills, and it helps to keep their brain functions active.

If you are a senior or know a senior who could benefit from an activity such as painting, try any of the projects mentioned in this post. There are also many other fun project ideas online.

Also check my guide on sip and paint ideas for more tips!

*image by PeopleImages/depositphotos