Guest Contributors

6 Benefits to Seniors Taking Up Writing

Creative pursuits like writing are often seen as hobbies only taken up by those with talent and not something to be built into everyday life. However, you may not realize that writing has some pretty powerful health and mind benefits.

This is especially true for the elder members of our community and those seniors who we may be caring for at home.

Writing and the elderly may not seem like a natural fit, but actually the exercise of writing, in many different forms, can have a positive impact on well-being and cognitive function – and even on physical skills.

Some examples of writing exercises are:

  • Writing a diary
  • Writing a gratitude journal
  • Keeping up a pen pal correspondence
  • Penning a memoir
  • List-making
  • Creative writing in the form of short stories, scenic descriptions, or poems

Here are six ways in which writing can benefit older people and improve many areas of their lives:

1Improved Dexterity

Just the simple act of picking up a pen and using it to write in a notepad or on a piece of paper is beneficial for fine motor skills and muscle-brain connectivity. Similarly, typing on a keyboard gives a senior increased mobility and flexibility in their fingers and hands.

Both forms of writing improve hand eye coordination and have a positive impact on reflexes. This can bring benefits to other areas of a senior’s life where they require dexterity, like dressing or handling day to day objects.

2Better Sleep

Thoughts which whizz around our heads at a million miles an hour, especially at night, are no good for anyone. This is particularly true for the seniors in our lives whose sleep is vital and may impact the sleep of their caregivers, too. To-do lists and decisions big and small make it hard for the brain to switch off at night, but writing really does help.

Jotting down thoughts, feelings, and emotions on a piece of paper or a notepad at the end of the day can take them away from the brain and see them released. A list will aid memory for the next day. However, any thoughts set down in writing, or any form of journalling, will help them be ordered and not a cause of anxiety or sleep hindrance.

Writing in the evening, if encouraged, results in entering a relaxed, sleepy state when it comes to bedtime.

3Help with Memory

If a senior writes something down, it will certainly help with preserving this thought, and this is also true of their memories. Committing something to paper or to the laptop screen will of course act as an aid memoire.

An exercise can be set, for example, where a senior remembers each thing they did the day before and writes it down. Writing can also conserve memories for future generations, if an elderly person is able to wander down memory lane and set those wonderful memories down in writing.

Journalling can either be writing thoughts and feelings of each day, like a diary, but can also act as writing a memoire. A senior may compose letters to their children or grandchildren telling them all their old stories. Plus, they can write a memoir which can be left as a legacy and a wonderful gift to those they love.

This can also provide them with a tremendous sense of peace, knowing their wishes, memories, and life lessons are to be handed down.

4Improved Cognitive Function

Writing acts as a little workout for the brain. As with most things, the more you exercise the muscles, the better they will work, so cognitive exercises in the form of writing can engage the brain in an effective way every day.

Even something simple like list-writing, which could be done each morning – perhaps listing all the activities for the day ahead – can be beneficial.

Writing also aids general communication. It engages their brain to come up with specific words and the right sentiment for expressing something. This will also reap the benefits for a senior when it comes to talking and using effective language with the people around them.

5Providing Structure

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Whether it’s a memoire or a short daily journal, with the senior’s thoughts and feelings of the day, journalling can add structure to a life of an elderly person if it’s attended to every day.

If there’s a set routine and time of day to sit down and write, this activity could soon become something to look forward to as a time to reflect and get thoughts in order.

It is also a quiet activity, and a calming one, where your loved one can be left alone with their own thoughts and creative endeavor, in a part of the day carved out for peace and reflection.

6Improved Mood

The act of writing itself can be very satisfying. A senior having written something, whether long or short, may give them a real sense of achievement. Coupled with writing about happy memories, or a beautiful view from the window, or a positive experience, a writing activity can result in a release of endorphins and a pleasant sensation. This lifts mood and creates a positive outlook for the senior in your life and can be a valuable tool if done regularly.

The Power of the Pen

As we’ve seen, writing is a creative and valuable activity which has a variety of enormous benefits for a senior in your care. It stimulates the cognitive and retention functions of the brain, provides a regular time of quiet and reflection and aids sleep, dexterity, and memory retention.

Writing is also so simple to incorporate into a daily routine! All that is needed is pen and paper, or access to a laptop, and it can be embarked upon at any time.

So why not encourage the older person in your life to pick up a pen and start writing?

About the Author

Jenny Han

Jenny Han is a writer at Top essay writing services and EssayRoo Review, covering all aspects of caregiving, and is also a blogger at Assignment writing services.

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