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What are the benefits of painting for older adults?

17th December 2021


Painting is a wonderful skill, a beautiful art form, and a tremendous hobby to pick up at any stage in life, no matter if you are a teenager or someone who uses stairlifts at home. Painting can bring so much joy, beauty, and copious other benefits to our lives and this is particularly true for those of older age. If you are thinking about taking up painting, this guide will introduce you to some of the many wonderful benefits that you can look forward to, from mental health to physical gains. So, read on and discover why you should make painting your new favourite hobby.

Improved mental health and mood

One of the greatest benefits of painting is that it can improve your mental health and boost your mood. Painting can be a really relaxing hobby, taking your mind off of other concerns as you get lost in the act of painting, concentrating on your subject matter and being creative. As a result, stress naturally decreases, providing those in older age with a welcome escape from daily concerns. Painting can also be a sociable activity, with many group painting classes being available. In later life, isolation becomes more common so having hobbies like painting that you can enjoy with others and that get you out of the house is a great idea.

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Feelings of satisfaction and pride 


Another benefit of painting is the feeling of satisfaction that comes from having created a piece of art. Being able to sit back and admire an artwork, knowing that you created it yourself with your hard work, passion, and creativity is incredibly rewarding. In a similar way, painting can also be tremendous for confidence levels. If someone is suffering from a lack of confidence, perhaps after an accident or due to feeling vulnerable, being able to produce a piece of art you are proud of can have a significant positive impact on self-esteem. That feeling of accomplishment and pride in yourself are benefits that can have a transformative impact on everyday life.

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Increased cognitive function

Painting can also have a positive influence on the brain, increasing cognitive function. When learning a new skill, parts of the brain become activated that don’t otherwise get used. Having to hone a craft, face new challenges, and learn how to express yourself in new ways can, as a result, stimulate the brain and improve its activity.

With painting requiring both sides of your brain to work at once, you are giving your mental faculties a workout without putting it under any stress. In fact, research has shown that “people who engaged in artistic activities, such as painting, drawing and sculpting, in both middle and old age were 73% less likely to have memory and thinking problems, such as mild cognitive impairment, that lead to dementia”.

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Enhanced motor skills and co-ordination


It’s not just mentally where painting can have a positive impact as the hobby also produces physical benefits. Utilising a brush to create a painting can enhance important motor skills and develop coordination levels. In older age, skills like these can deteriorate but by taking up a hobby such as painting, dexterity in your hands, fingers, and wrists can improve due to delicately handling a paintbrush, while the ability to keep your hands steady can also progress. Regular painting can also reduce stiffness and inflammation, increasing blood flow and therefore lessening pain from common ailments like arthritis and hypertension.

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The enjoyment that comes from hobbies

One benefit of painting that should never be overlooked is the simple joy that comes from a hobby you love. People participate in hobbies because they enjoy them; they bring happiness, pleasure and satisfaction. Good feelings produced from a hobby like painting are just as valuable as any other, providing those in retirement with an activity that can be looked forward to every day and a pleasant distraction from chores and errands. Further still, you can set yourself goals for improvement that when accomplished can be incredibly rewarding. So, if you are looking for a new hobby, something to enjoy and bring happiness, this is more than enough reason to try your hand at painting.

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Painting resources to try 


If you are starting to feel convinced that painting might be a skill you want to learn, a handful of helpful resources have been gathered below to get you started. From classes and tips to inspiration for creativity, take a look at some of the below and kick start your new endeavour.

Sunny Art Centre

The Sunny Art Centre in London is a great place to learn how to paint and develop your skills. While you can always get stuck in without any teaching, it never hurts to learn from experienced artists and the team at Sunny Art Centre offer onsite and online art courses aimed at beginners, intermediate and advanced students. Whether you fancy trying drawing, oil painting, watercolours, or acrylic, you can learn them all here.

Watercolours by Rachel

If you would like some tips and inspiration to help you with your new hobby, the website Watercolours by Rachel is a brilliant resource to utilise. Rachel has her own beautiful art pieces for sale on the site, but she also has a blog that features tips and advice for paintings of your own. She also shares some of her latest work here, so it acts as a great resource when it comes to finding inspiration to fuel your new creative passion.

London Art College

For those seeking to learn to paint from the comfort of their home, London Art College is a great resource, making it easy to learn these amazing skills and art via the internet. The college has provided art courses since 1931 and allows students to set their own timetable, work at their own pace, and every student has their own friendly, personal tutor. Their beginner’s painting course could be what you are looking for.

Jem Bowden

If you like painting, why not also consider a painting holiday? Imagine travelling to a beautiful location with great company while learning to paint from an experienced teacher. This is exactly what Jem Bowden offers, taking students primarily into the great outdoors, helping those with some basic watercolour skills to take their craft to the next level while having a great time. Jem also offers tuition for beginners if that should be of interest.

Trembeling Art

When looking to learn a new skill like painting, you will welcome all the tips you can get your hands on. Trembeling Art is a blog run by Marilyn, which focuses on helping those with Parkinson’s learn how to paint. Marilyn has published a great blog post of 25 simple acrylic painting tips for beginners that might come in handy but she has plenty of other resources and even a Facebook group where people can share their art with a community of fellow painters and ask questions.

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The benefits of painting for older people

  • Improved mental health and mood
  • Feelings of satisfaction and pride
  • Increased cognitive function
  • Enhanced motor skills and co-ordination
  • The enjoyment that comes from hobbies

These are just some of the many wonderful benefits that people can receive from painting. So, what are you waiting for? Utilise the resources above, pick up a brush and see if painting becomes your new favourite hobby.

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This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.