Senior Connection

Jul 31, 2015

Color Me Happy: Adult Coloring Books

By Jane Giuffrida

Coloring. Our first association with that word is children, because it is often an activity we did when we were younger. Recently however, a new phenomenon has people looking at coloring books in a new way. Adults have begun to take back out their old coloring materials for a peaceful activity, and a way to reduce stress. It has become such a popular trend that adult coloring books can be found in almost any retail bookstore, and definitely online at.  Some of these books have even topped bestseller lists.  While the books are available to purchase, there are many online templates that can be printed out for free, so there is no financial disincentive to try it out.

Adult coloring books are slightly different than the ones meant for children.  The designs in adult coloring books are more intricate than those typically found in books geared for the younger age group. They are targeted at utilizing both the creative and tactical parts of our brains.  The creative part comes from choosing the color scheme, and the tactical part comes from applying the colors to the drawing.  This is also the aspect that separates color books from doodles.  With a doodle drawing the person is passive in their actions and their mind can easily wander to other responsibilities or worries.  Whereas the coloring book keeps the focus on the drawing and allows the person a brief time of relief where all that matters is the drawing in front of you.

This activity can work well for both care givers and care recipients.  For the caregiver it can work to reduce their stress, and for the care recipient it can just be a pleasant, peaceful activity.  The caregiver can choose to color alone, or they could do it with their loved one, as an activity for them to do together.  The draw of adult coloring books extends beyond all ages, but to all creativity levels as well.  The pre-done shapes on the page make it less intimidating for someone to begin to create than if they were to stare at a blank page.  It allows for the more creative person to have a lot of freedom to do as they please, but does not exclude those who are not as imaginative.

While the act of physically coloring with markers, crayons or pencils is what we are used to, new technology brings about coloring in a different way. There are apps that allow you to color on your smartphone and tablet. It may seem unconventional, but some of the main benefits of coloring comes from just seeing and working with the colors themselves, not the writing utensils. Cool colors like blue, green and purple have a calming effect. Warm colors should be used when you are in a bad mood because red, orange and yellow are mood lifters. Bright colors are energizing, while pastels and light tints communicate softness and help to soothe the soul when maybe you have too much activity in your life. Dark colors have a relaxing effect and can be used to tone down an overactive mind.  For some people traditional paper and marker is what they will always prefer, but the existence of the apps allows for this activity to be easily taken on the go.

National Coloring Book Day is August 2nd so use it as an excuse to pick up those colored pencils you haven’t seen in a while, try this hobby, and relax! For more information or free downloadable samples go to

Source: Dowdle, Hillary. “50 Shades of Happy: The New Joy of Coloring.” Parade. N.p., 10 July 2015. Web. 

May 1, 2015

Living the Dream

By Robert P. Dwyer, Ph.D.
Executive Director

Executive Director1965 was a banner year in Lyndon Johnson’s dream of creating a “Great Society.” It was the year that Medicare and Medicaid were added into the Social Security Act, and it was also the year that the President signed the Older Americans Act. Together, these laws were aimed at attempting to lift up older Americans above the poverty level, give them some dignity, and reward them for the years of building our nation, taking hold of the post depression economy and turning it around.

In this year of 2015, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act, we see this act, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, under constant siege by legislators and others who view both entitlements and discretionary spending that help senior citizens, as spending gone awry. They are seen as money wasted, as cash spent frivolously.

We can’t deny that some entitlements especially are taken advantage of in an unscrupulous manner. Neither can we undo the reality that much of life has changed since 1965 with people living longer, and in many ways, healthier lives. With this we can call for reforms to stop the scamming of Medicaid and Medicare. We should discuss increasing the age of eligibility for programs under the Older Americans Act.

Yet we must admit that these laws have indeed helped the aged and poor. We must see that older people who are homebound do indeed receive nutrition, home care and other protective and crisis services because of these laws. Can we turn from the facts that older Americans find legal help when facing housing crises, or assistance in learning to live in their homes when blindness overtakes them? Should we remove help given to frail elders in nursing homes, to those who need guardians or simply help paying their bills?

Is it possible that we want to deny older people the right to live in their own homes and neighborhoods for as long as they are able?

The Older Americans Act helps to do all of these things. In its 50 years of existence, the seniors who have been helped are our history. In this, our time, the seniors that we help are our own parents and grandparents. And tomorrow, in our future, WE will be the ones struggling to live in dignity and hope.

We mustn't forget that while we are trying to solidify a nation’s economy for our children, neither can we afford to dismantle a system that has helped to make our nation a great and wonderful society that becomes also a birthright for our own children, and our children’s children. In all of this our generation has been given a legacy, a trust that we must bolster and even strengthen, to give to all those whom we leave behind. Let them have their time to “live the dream” of the Great Society.


To Enhance The Quality Of Life For Area Seniors And Their Caregivers, The Central Massachusetts Agency On Aging Will Provide Leadership, Information And Resources, Coordination Of Services And Advocacy.