Cursive can Provide Psychological Benefits and Emotional Connection for Seniors

Every year on January 23rd, our nation celebrates National Cursive Handwriting Day. This provides a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the benefits of cursive handwriting.

Penmanship is a beautiful form of art.  This was the norm of Baby Boomers and Generation X growing up in the school system. It’s a special script for obvious reasons. One that comes to mind is that the original documents that changed United States history were written in this form.

The old saying,”Give me your John Hancock,” has been used for decades when asking for someone’s signature. In fact, National Cursive Handwriting Day occurs on John Hancock’s birthday.

Cursive writing is a skill that is acquired in elementary school. Because of this, we don’t often think of how cursive writing could benefit older adults. Studies have shown, however,  that this form of art can provide a unique value to seniors. Here are a few to consider:

Fine Motor Skills

Writing in cursive improves hand-eye coordination because it exercises a specific part of the brain. Educational Psychology Professor, Virginia Berninger, conducted extensive research on brain activity which included a review of various brain scans. Berninger found that handwriting activates massive regions of the brain that involve thinking, language, and working memory.

Cursive penmanship works the brain, unlike any other function we do with our hands because of the process we go through when we perform this action. The constant connecting of loops and letters is actually a very healthy activity that people can benefit from at every age.

Valuable and Special Means of Communication

A natural part of aging involves slower processing time which can make it difficult for some people to verbalize their thoughts in the pace of general conversation. When elderly loved ones experience this they may find writing to be a helpful way to share their thoughts.  Even in today’s society of advanced technology, there is still nothing quite like a handwritten letter to make someone’s day! Since older generations are no strangers to this concept, handwriting comes naturally. Plus, the thought of providing a handwritten note may also spark fond memories of past relationships



Connection to the Youth

Cursive is a skill that educators once assumed would eventually phase due to the changes in technology. In fact,  more than 45 schools in 2013 stopped teaching this skill. However, cursive writing is slowly making a comeback in the early education school system. This is great news because it’s one way that the elderly generations can connect to youth.

When grandma or grandpa writes a birthday card, it’s most likely going to be in cursive since that is the penmanship they grew up with. This provides a bridge for discussions with connections to younger generations and provides “brain health” at the same time.

Ideas for Daily Use of Cursive

  •   Write thank you notes, sign cards, or compose handwritten letters to loved ones
  •   Write a poem
  •   Turn your name written in cursive into a piece of art
  •   Write down old family stories

Take time to incorporate cursive writing into your daily routine. You’ll reap both physical and psychological benefits and provide healthy ways to keep older adults connected to others. Celebrate National Cursive Handwriting Day by sharing these benefits with your loved ones!