As people age, finding new and innovative ways to keep our brains in tip-top shape can be challenging. Beyond taking vitamins, doctors are encouraging people to do more activities that flex our brain muscles, like Sudoku, crossword puzzles, and reading. The new ACE Center at PPH invites new opportunities for resident social, mental, and physical stimulation. Beyond the brick and mortar benefits of residents having rooms to gather and really enjoy the senior living lifestyle they want to live, are other opportunities to develop programming accordingly. One recent trend has found its way to PPH adult coloring. While we may remember this being a pastime for our children, now adult coloring has become all the rage in the adult world with Crayola launching a set of markers, colored pencils and a collection of adult coloring books, Coloring Escapes last year. An article published in CNN last year explored the health benefits of adult coloring. According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy is a mental health profession in which the process of making and creating artwork is used to “explore feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety and increase self-esteem.” While art therapy and coloring are not exactly the same, coloring does provide mental benefits like reducing anxiety and create focus. Like meditation, coloring also allows us to switch off our brains from other thoughts and focus only on the moment, helping to alleviate free-floating anxiety.

Residents Carol and Barbara Mylod participate in the group here, comprised of residents and outside volunteers. Barbara says, ”It’s more than coloring, it’s socializing too. You can come for 20 minutes, 30 minutes, whatever. You don’t need any prior skills. Anybody can do this. We look forward to it every week.” They encourage new participants not to limit themselves. There is no requirement to stay within the lines. It is about expressing yourself and having fun at the same time. The group meets every Friday at 10:30 a.m. in our Craft Room.