If you have somehow found this article without reading Part 1, you may want to go back and read through the introduction. You'll find helpful information there to spur your own creative thoughts on this subject and give you the “why” behind the projects that I've highlighted here. I hope you find at least a couple of useful activities in this 2 part list as you seek to encourage those you care for and give them new goals to reach and life to live!
10. Another option is to consider clay as a very forgiving activity. Having a sculptor come to give lessons is not out of the question, or perhaps consider a video tutorial. Clay can be squished and re-made countless times as a person seeks the form they would like. If they are so inclined, they could practice on malleable clay & then purchase another type of clay for baking into a final project that they might find useful. There are even colorful clay-like materials that can be baked and made into erasers!
11. Food sculpture is a great way of increasing fruit and vegetable intake as well as engaging the whole person. Learning how to carve radishes and cucumbers and eating their mistakes will be enjoyable and funny. Their final product could be presented at a group meal for all to enjoy.
12. Lighting or clockwork might be of interest to some senior citizens who are even mildly mechanically inclined. This could also serve a practical purpose if they need a bit of extra light in a corner of their room to make a cozy reading or listening area. Materials to make lamps are incredibly variable, but all lamps have very basic “guts” inside. Clockworks, likewise have very basic parts and their faces can be as varied as the people making them!
13. A very practical class on making your own hygiene products might be interesting to certain individuals. Making toothpaste pellets or tooth powder, lotions that are effective for aging skin, nourishing, non-drying deodorants with beneficial essential oils, salves, & etc. encourages the use of all of the senses, except perhaps taste!
14. Learning slight of hand or card tricks to share with young visitors might encourage someone to reach out in a new way to forge a friendship. It also engages the mind as you try to master some of these things while watching yourself in the mirror!
15. Balloon twisting, likewise has great potential for helping them connect with a young generation and perhaps even teach them how to twist balloons. It is incredibly easy on arthritic hands and great fun for all involved.
16. Leather work of heavier or thinner leather employs many faculties, as well as being a useful and creative outlet. Consider belts, wallets, camera/phone pouches or even smaller projects like photo frames and bracelets.
17. Book binding is incredibly fun for all ages. Learning the basics of book stitching will then enable people to bind together several things that are meaningful to them, whether they be postcards from their travels, notes taken over a course of years but placed into different notebooks that they want to bind together as one, or even to make their own bound book of scratch paper or recipes.
18. Finally, soft metal work or punching. Many people enjoy this old time skill. Punching a bit of tin or other thin sheet metal to let light through a lantern or let air into a cabinet may still have useful applications, though it will mostly be for decorative use these days. Create a candle sconce that has punched tin, or perhaps even a framed piece. Perhaps create several panels for a box or cabinet or as the backing on a bookshelf. The cabinetwork itself may be beyond the scope of ability for the person in your care, but the tin punching may not be.
Be sure as you mull over all of these ideas to keep the person/persons you are working with in mind. If they aren't able to do the full project, can they do parts of it? Do they have certain aversions or disabilities that will make it impossible to accomplish the task with joy? The intent is not to frustrate, but to give them new things to think about, new ideas to try & a feeling of pride in their newfound skill and craftsmanship. After all, how many times when we are young do we say, “I'd love to do that when I have more time...”? It is a difficulty in life that when we have all kinds of strength and ability we have very little time. When we have more time, our strengths and abilities decrease. I'm sure that this behooves us to develop patience with ourselves, but it can be frustrating. If someone you are working with is getting frustrated by their lack of strength or dexterity, gently encourage them that the project need not be finished quickly, but well & that they can do it in increments that are fitting for their current ability. In all things, enjoy yourselves!