Origami is a Great Mental Workout for Seniors

Seniors clubs and community centers have taking up origami by the storm!

In this article, one senior claims that the ancient art of origami has saved her life. Her teacher, Shikauchi Nielsen, experienced first hand how beneficial origami is as it is a quiet, tranquil activity that doesn’t take muscle and also brings peace of mind. It is good for developing and maintaining hand/eye coordination, and is mentally simulating.

Robin Clough, Director of Recreation and Volunteers for the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center agrees. “I think origami is really unique and an important part of the Japanese culture. You can make something so beautiful out of something so simple. It’s something new to learn, which stimulates mind, body and hand coordination.”

Professor Kawashima Ryuta, a researcher at Tohoku University’s Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, demonstrated that doing origami increases the amount of blood flowing in the brain, thereby helping it function better. Many members from Alzheimer’s communities have indicated that it is a great activity for people with dementia to stave off the physical effects of Alzheimer’s—tremors, muscle loss and a diminished sense of balance. Also, hands-on activities are more enjoyable for people with dementia than reading or conversing with people who they might not recognize.

To end this post, I’ll share with you a great slogan that seniors have regarding origami: “Origami fun, three times in a lifetime.” Why? Because they have fun with origami during their childhood, when they are teaching it to their own children, and when they are seniors and picking it up again!

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