Elder Care Fun: Colorful Creations with Perler Beads

Elder Care in Johnston, IA

Arts and crafts projects are a wonderful way to enhance your elder care plan by getting your parents involved in an activity that encourages creativity, expression, and individuality. There is a virtually endless array of arts and crafts project options available, but one of the most recent trends in these activities is making creations with Perler Beads.

Available under several different brand names, Perler Beads have actually been around for decades, but have recently experienced a major resurgence in popularity. These tiny plastic beads feature holes on either side that allow you to place them one at a time on frames with corresponding-sized pegs to create designs. Once the design is complete, you place a piece of ironing paper over the design and iron using a regular household iron put on the medium setting. After approximately 10 to 20 seconds on both sides, the beads will fuse together, allowing you to remove the finished project from the frame.

Introducing these beads as a creative activity within your elder care plan has many benefits, including:

• The process of placing the beads on the frame exercises their fine motor skills, encouraging them to maintain their dexterity and offering stretching and conditioning for the joints of the hands

• The variety of colors of the beads stimulates the mind and encourages sharper cognitive processing

• Planning what type of design to build exercises problem solving and critical thinking skills

• Building the design exercising strategic thinking skills and expresses personal taste and creativity

• Watching the beads go from individual tiny pieces to a cohesive complete project provides a sense of accomplishment and pride, particularly when they can complete projects as special gifts for friends, family, or even their elderly health care services provider

Use some of these ideas to stimulate creativity, foster conversation, and give your aging parents a fun craft activity that can be different every time they do it:

• Start with kits. Purchase individual project kits that include a frame, an easy to follow pattern, and the beads used to complete that pattern. This introduces the concept of the beads without being confusing or overwhelming. Once your parents have completed that project, you can add the pattern and frame to your collection so they can do the same project again in the future.

• Go for variety. Encourage personal expression by purchasing beads in many different colors. Store these beads in sealable containers so that you they stay organized and you can easily put them away for safekeeping until the next time.

• Choose large beads. Perler beads as well as similar beads from other brands come in two different sizes. The standard size is very small and can be difficult to see, pick up, and manipulate. Look for the jumbo size beads that are much easier to use, particularly for seniors who may have low vision or some dexterity problems.

• Create gifts. You are not limited just to putting together designs and keeping them as they are.

Elevate fused projects by hot gluing a magnetic strip to the back to make custom magnets, or stitch rectangular designs together to form a keepsake box. Get creative and see what your parents can imagine.

If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care services, please contact the caring staff at TRUMARK HomeCare of Des Moines, IA. Call today: (515) 619-5225.