My grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about four years ago. She was starting to ask the same question more than once and forgetting small things. She went to the doctors and ended up with the diagnosis and started medication to control the progress of the illness. In that time it’s been pretty slow at developing but you can see that it has had an impact on her.
She’s still able to cook and bake: she lays the ingredients out in the order they need to be added so she can remember where she was if she forgets half way. She used to be incredibly creative. She learned how to sew and piece together patterns at age 13 and became a dressmaker. She made me dresses when I was little, as well as knitted toys for me. In her later years she bought a loom and used it to make rugs, table cloths and tapestries. She also used to enjoy glasswork and making beautiful, elegant lampshades and decorative pieces from scratch that she sold at craft fairs. She isn’t able to do these things since her dementia has developed, but she has found a way to stay in touch with her creative side: colouring books.
Now it’s quite easy to dismiss adult colouring books as a trend. They’re growing ever more popular with more titles being put out as I type this. But for someone who has something like early Alzheimer’s or epilepsy, colouring books can be a fantastic tool for people to be able to be creative and express themselves without the pressure and focus needed for the initial creating. For my grandmother this means she can start when she likes without forgetting what she was doing, and she’s able to see the progress she’s made throughout the books. She can feel proud when she’s finished one, and she completes one or two a day: finding the process therapeutic.
Having the colouring books gives her a tangible goal and it encourages both the logical and creative sides of her brain to work. Colouring books have also been shown to reduce adrenaline in the brain and cause a rise of dopamine. So while the process is therapeutic to her she may well be exercising her brain on a basic level and helping her happiness in the process. All pretty cool eh! It also means my grandma is pretty on trend.
Below is a list of some Sagitta’s picks for colouring books, for both adults and children. Enjoy!