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My ma is 95, in moderate stage dementia, and has severe arthritis. She is no longer able to control her hands enough to do crossword puzzles, which she loved for years. I wasn't sure what she would be able to do with coloring pens, but she really seems to like coloring once in a while. We've used felt-tip coloring pens and also crayons and she likes both. Children's coloring books are the appropriate skill level, but it is hard to find interesting content. (Ma is not much into Ninja Turtles.) Adult coloring books are everywhere these days, but are definitely beyond Ma's (or my) skill level. For us, the ideal solution is that I find suitable coloring pictures online and print them out on stiff paper. Her preference is simple flower pictures. I wish I had tried this with my husband. He might have liked WWII airplane pictures to color! Ma not only enjoys coloring while she is doing it, she is proud of her creations afterwards. When my sister visited Ma pointed out the gladious picture we hung on her closet door. I am wondering who else is finding this a suitable passtime for elderly loved ones? [I have no idea why, but I cannot break this post into paragraphs today! Please be patient with its length.]

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It is such a great idea but be sure the markers are washable.
The nursing home where my mother was had a fabulous social director. She discovered my mother loved elephants so she went on line and found pictures to color and printed them out. That occupied Mom from time to time, as she was very restless. But as she quickly declined, her dementia got worse, and one day she used the markers to "put on her makeup". Good thing they provided washable markers.
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I do..

I found some coloring books at The Dollar Tree that weren't to kidish. Like your Mom the adult ones are way to busy..Actually they give me anxiety!

My Mom did crosswords all the time before this dreaded dementia also.. I ask her the hints now and fill in the words.. She thinks I'm a dummy because I act like I don't know the answers!!! I just tell her she's smarter than me!!
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I can see that coloring together would be a good idea - seguing into relaxing and memorable conversations that stimulate an elder's mind. Great therapy!

If I can find the cake designs, I'll PM them to you as well. I only found one which I did reference in one of the links I just P'M'ed. Coloring while waiting for something delectable to bake is a great idea - building memories through art and aromatherapy.

And I especially like the idea of sending the pictures as cards; they'll be especially valued since your mother colored them . They'll become keepsakes.

Once when my mother stayed with me b/c of a broken foot while my father became a Snowbird, I decided we would make some chocolates to send to Dad and their friends in the RV camp. I put together some prints of a camping trailer, cacti, and a few others things, probably some flowers. Mom and I colored them, I glued them onto empty candy boxes, we made and sampled candy, and then (keeping enough samples for ourselves) sent them to Dad. The other day I came across that box which Dad brought back and I saved - it brought back such memories.
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Thank you, GA. I'll look at the links you send me!

I am amazed that my arthritic mom can stay within lines and completely fill a shape. I hoped it would be fun for her but I didn't expect her to be good at it! That is why I now wish I'd tried this with my husband.

Coloring together is pleasant because we can hold a conversation at the same time, or just sit together companionably. The most recent session I was coloring a cow, and I used that to start a conversation about my mother's childhood on a farm. She remembered more this time than she usually does. Caught her on a good day, I guess.

I think I'll print pictures in a format that can be folded into cards. After she has done a batch I'll bring in stamps and address stickers and envelopes and she can send cards to relatives.
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Jeanne, just reading about coloring excites me! I don't color with my father; I think it would be too hard for him as his hands can be shaky. I color generally alone, sometimes to music, and it always leaves me feeling refreshed and creative.

But do I have some suggestions for you for great coloring books! Dover Publications. Sign up for the free newsletters, both for children's and adults coloring books samples. Since the .com links would be filtered, I'm P'M'ing you some links that you might find interesting. If I can find the garden flowers coloring book that I have, I'll include that link.

Over the years I've bought Dover's sophisticated coloring books of WWII planes, jet fighters, lighthouses, gardens (including one with a gazebo that I colored as a Mother's Day card), wildflowers, garden flowers, herbs, weeds, American sites (such as Yosemite), lighthouses and a number of Alphonse Mucha's Art Nouveau designs (just as sophisticated as his paintings). Gustav Klimt and Erte's works are also subject to inclusion in some of the fine arts versions.

There are more simplistic children's and stained glass designs, as well as complex Tiffany Designs (beautiful!).

There are historical colorings books (including ones of exploration of America), holiday ones, snowflakes specific designs, cats, dogs, wild animals, Arctic animals, forest animals, whales and dolphins, and even ships.

The adult coloring books in stores are in my opinion of a much lower class and artistic level. They're much too cluttered, and some of the designs are an extreme example of the "Zentangles" movements in coloring. The lines are thick, and are obtrusive in the final designs.

I've used their designs for Christmas, birthday, get well, and cheer-up cards. Sometimes I printed them on a special art paper which for the life of me I can't remember right now.

Off to dig up some links and PM you. I think you'll like them....oh, and I just remembered, if I remember correctly - there was at one time a food one - I don't remember if it was candy or cupcakes, or maybe cakes. Just perfect for you!
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