'It's a colouring book for older hands and eyes'

Annette Innis at her book launch.
Annette Innis at her book launch.

In recent years adult colouring books have turned into a popular fad with people claiming they have experienced a number of benefits, such as sparking brain activity and aiding memory loss.

But Hammondcare arts engagement officer Annette Innis said she saw a gap in the market for older people.

So she decided to publish a book herself through Hammondcare Media, Colours of yesterday: a creative colouring book for older people.

“Adult colouring books are really popular for older people but the themes and accessibility aren’t always suitable for them. I made this book specifically for older hands and eyes,” she said.

“Whereas, other books can be quite intricate. The illustrations in these are more simple and relate to the stories I’ve been told by older people in the community.”

Miss Innis, 28, has a background as an artist, her niche in painting. But she said her job at Hammondcare combined her passion – both for art and the community.

Visuals from Colours of yesterday: a creative colouring book for older people.

Visuals from Colours of yesterday: a creative colouring book for older people.

The book was launched last year before Christmas and became available for purchase on December 1.

She said so far she’s received positive feedback.

“It made a good Christmas present for people with older relatives. I have an older relative who coloured it in and gave it to me for Christmas and that was very special to me.

“I like to see how people interpret it differently. Because when they colour the picture in, they can make the scene their own.

“This book really brings stories to life for older people in Australia and alot of the pictures are of what Australia used to look like. I’ve received feedback that it really struck a chord for some people.”

Miss Innis’ inspiration was all the older people she had worked with in the past, who’d shared their stories with her.

She described one of her favourite stories featured in the book.

“A lady called may who is 98 tells a story of working on a telephone switchboard as a telephonist. It’s a job that does’t exist anymore in today’s society so hearing about it sounds a bit like fiction to me as a young person. May presented her story and read it aloud to the Hammondville community when the book was launched. We were very lucky to have her present it for us.”

According to Miss Innis, while the book was designed for older people in general it could be helpful for people with dementia and a range of other health needs.

“It’s a real starting point for people who want to explore their own creativity. It’s also relaxing and enjoyable to do as well. Hopefully, it will also jog positive memories and improve cognitive awareness.”

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