Remember how much you loved to color when you were a kid? A lot of adults still enjoy it. There is something about coloring that is soothing to the mind.
In fact, many healthcare professionals agree that coloring has many therapeutic benefits for adults, including improving focus and reducing anxiety.
For seniors, coloring in a book can be a challenge if they have difficulty holding a marker and controlling it. This is where coloring apps on mobile devices can help.
Most of these entertaining apps for seniors & elderly just require a finger to select a color and tap a space to fill in the color. There are no worries about coloring outside the lines because the app keeps the right color in the right space.
Best Coloring Apps for Seniors
Seniors like coloring apps that are fun and challenging. There are many coloring apps with all kinds of themes and features. Here are some of the popular ones that are great for seniors.
This coloring app provides the standard “paint by number” function that just requires the senior to select a color, then tap a space to fill it. The nice thing about Pigment is that it also has other features that can make the image more lifelike.
For seniors who want a bit more control, there are different settings for brushes, pencils, and markers and adjustments for the thickness and texture of the strokes. There is even an option to color freehand if desired.
There are many types of color pages for free, and a subscription can unlock even more.
This coloring app has a huge library of coloring pages in a wide number of categories like cityscapes, animals, flowers, classics, and many more. Seniors like the array of choices and the big color palette with solid and gradient colors.
Seniors can join the Color Therapy community and leave comments on each other’s work. There are also “coloring challenges” that add to the fun. The social aspect allows seniors to engage with others and stay connected.
Unlike many other coloring apps that sell premium content, ColorMe (available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store) is totally free. There is nothing to subscribe to. It offers a few hundred coloring pages for free, and new pages are added frequently.
It has simple, easy-to-color designs like animals, flowers, and people, and it also has more complex designs like mandalas. Because this app is totally free, it does come with many ads that the senior will have to sit through.
Coloring Book For Adults
This is another coloring app that is completely free of charge. There are no subscriptions or in-app purchases. There are about 30 categories, and each has many coloring pages ranging from simple designs to more complex ones.
You just tap and fill. For seniors who don’t want to deal with different brushes, textures, and other bells and whistles, the Coloring Book For Adults app is a great way to create a beautiful picture that they can save, share, or print.
The Colorfly app gives you free coloring pages from a wide range of categories, including mandalas, animals, famous masterpieces, pixel art, and more. There are simple designs as well as more intricate ones.
Premium content can be unlocked by subscription. You can apply effects to your finished work like mosaic and “Lego.” The senior can import his own photo and make a coloring page from it, then save and share it with the family.
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The images of this coloring app are in 3D, which makes this quite different from the other apps. Seniors can scan a photo of a family member and create a color page from it. There are plenty of free pages and over a hundred free colors.
A subscription unlocks premium features that give you hundreds of colors. Recolor has millions of members, so seniors can share their artwork and see others from people around the world.
Is Coloring Good for Seniors?
As mentioned above, medical experts have found that coloring has many benefits for adults. For seniors, these benefits are particularly significant because they address many issues that seniors face as they age.
Coloring uses the frontal lobe area of your brain that is for solving problems and organization. Aging can affect the ability of the brain to focus, but coloring can help the senior relax and focus on the coloring activity.
Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Stress relief connects to focus. Coloring is soothing because it allows the senior to focus on the coloring activity instead of worrying about other things and feeling anxious. It redirects attention away from negative thoughts, which is beneficial to the senior’s mental well-being.
Uses the Entire Brain
Coloring requires both sides of the brain to work together. The creative half of the brain decides on which color to use to achieve the desired visual effect. The other half of the brain is used for focus and organization.
The front part of the brain controls movement. So, in order to color a picture, the senior uses all parts of the brain, giving the entire brain a good bit of exercise.
Brings Up Happy Memories
Coloring can help the senior think back to the time when he was coloring as a child or when he was doing a coloring activity with his grandchildren. The coloring page might be an image that reminds him of a place that he has visited or something pleasant that he has seen.
Either way, coloring can help the senior recall happy times, and that goes a long way in helping the senior maintain a positive outlook in life.
Even if the senior cannot draw his own picture, he can still flex his creativity in the colors that he chooses. Who says a tiger has to be orange with black stripes? A blue tiger with rainbow-colored stripes is perfectly lovely!
There are no boundaries to creativity, and that is very healthy for the mind.
What Coloring Apps Are Free?
From the coloring apps mentioned above, ColorMe and Coloring Book for Adults are completely free without the need to purchase a subscription. However, these do come with more ads. If the senior does not mind watching a few advertisements, these would be ideal.
The other coloring apps also offer free coloring pages, but the senior has the option to unlock more options by subscription. For a lot of people, the free options provide plenty already, so there is no need to purchase a subscription for more.
A subscription usually removes ads, so if ads are an annoyance, then a subscription might be the way to go.
Do Coloring Apps Use Data?
In order to download a new coloring page, you will need to be logged on to the internet. Any time you are on the internet, you will use data. However, some apps allow you to work on your coloring page offline after you download it.
So, when you are offline, you do not use any data. However, keep in mind that in order to save your work, you might need to log back on to Wi-Fi. If you saved unfinished work to the cloud and retrieve it later to finish, you will use data when you retrieve your file.
What Coloring Apps Work Offline?
Of the coloring apps listed above, the description for ColorMe and Coloring Book For Adults says that the user can work on the color pages offline. However, if you are not connected to Wi-Fi, you will not be able to share your work with others unless you log back on to the internet.
What Stylus Works Best for Coloring Apps on iPhone?
Many coloring apps just require you to use your finger to tap and fill a color. For more realistic coloring, you can still use your finger to choose brushes or pencils and manually fill in the spaces. However, if you want even more detailed control, you can use a stylus.
The challenge for seniors, however, is that a stylus might be hard to control due to its slim size. For seniors who have problems with grip or joint issues on the dominant hand, a stylus will probably be uncomfortable to use. Also, a stylus can get lost easily, so that’s an issue to consider.
If a stylus is still desired, below are several that work well on iPhones.
Adonit Pro 4
This stylus feels natural in the hand like a real pen. It does not need any batteries, and there is nothing to turn on or pair like a Bluetooth device. You just pick it up and start using it.
It is lightweight at only 22 grams. The action is smooth and precise. It is ideal if the senior wants a bit more control in coloring besides tap and fill.
Mixoo Capacitive Stylus Pen
This stylus also has the feel of a pen. With a stainless steel body, it weighs in at 60 grams, so it has a bit more heft that seniors might prefer. The fine tip is also good for more detailed coloring besides tap and fill.
StyleHome Stylus Pen
Good value for the money. It also does not require batteries. It comes with a couple of sizes of rubber tips which are not designed for detailed coloring. Its simplicity is ideal for tap and fill coloring pages.
Summary and Final Recommendations
There is an abundance of coloring apps online, and new apps come on board all the time. The apps described above are just a few examples that seniors might enjoy.
Coloring is an easy activity for seniors to engage in and is a popular category of entertainment apps for seniors to use to pass the time. It takes little effort, yet the rewards are many. Not only does the brain get a good workout, but the senior will feel good about completing a piece of artwork that he can save and share with loved ones.
There are no rules to coloring, and the senior can enjoy a freedom of expression that will promote a healthy outlook in life.