Tips for Seniors to Finish Jewelry Without Help?

by Mary.

Tips for Seniors to Finish Jewelry Without Help?  - Discussion on Jewelry Making Journal

I have been teaching a seniors’ jewelry class for over a year now – we make stretch bracelets, as well as necklaces long enough to go over their heads (with monofilament).

They absolutely love it!

Now they are asking about earrings.

I have the supplies, but was wondering – what is an easy way for them to make these themselves?

I can’t think of anything beyond having them string onto headpins and I will use the pliers to make the simple loops at the top to attach to ear wires.

Is there any other way, so that they can make the whole thing themselves?

I knot the bracelets and necklaces anyway, just wondering if there is a way they can feel like they made the whole thing.

Thank you.


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  • Mary K says:

    How old are these seniors? I teach seniors all the time and they can make simple loops, if you show them how.

  • Valerie Jackson says:

    Not sure I have a suggestion for you, but just wanted to thank you for teaching seniors! I’ve taught classes with seniors and with Alzheimer’s patients and, while they require some extra assistance, the joy of seeing them excited about wearing and owning a piece they made bring so much joy! Thank you for sharing your skill and expertise! ❤️

  • Linda Carman says:

    I teach mostly seniors at an Art Gallery and even a person that has issues from multiple sclerosis. Teach them to use the tools. I am 71 and it is my hand use that keeps me limber. I have a finger and a half numb on right hand and 4 severely damaged at top knuckle that were broken backwards in a fall. Have had about 2 years of specialized hand therapy.

    Those specialists worked with severely arthritic and/or highly damaged hands in exercises.

    My old boss has severe trigger fingers and multiple surgeries and was also in specialized hand therapy. She is 69, a fine china painter, wire wrapper and water colorist.

    This is the best thing you could ever do. IF YOU DON’T WORK THOSE JOINTS THEY WILL WORSEN quicker. I get so excited, I don’t notice the pain.

    Teach them tool use.

  • I started my jewellery business 3 years ago at 67 and now have an online store with shopify. It keeps me mentally challenged to create, and learn social media to promote. You can teach a dog new tricks but it might take longer. lol. I am always the slowest in any class I take which to me personally is embarassing but I will try to get over that. lol

  • Gabriela Kaufman says:

    It’s so wonderful that you do this with seniors!
    I used to volunteer at a senior center and the joy that brought to them was priceless. I used to say:”girls will always be girls”. I loved seeing them changing my pattern, participating in the design process.
    I judged each one’s ability and helped accordingly.
    I had also the caregivers working with us, which was great help.

  • Leslie says:

    If you can teach them to properly open and close a jump ring properly, then you can buy components (or make a bunch) they can then just attach the component to the ear wire loop. They can make long earrings this way also. The creativity comes in when selecting the bead/charm combinations. To get really fancy; have them attach a small piece of chain to the ear wire loop and hang bead units on the chain.

  • Jerrolynn says:

    Please don’t lump all “seniors” into a group of “disabled” people. I taught a wire-wrapping class to a group of ladies ranging from about 75 to early 90’s. They routinely do beading, but hadn’t tried wire wrapping. They did a great job and enjoyed having helpful tools like parallel action pliers and magnifying visors or lighted magnifiers on a stand. They also enjoyed having 24″ Sterling silver chains (these can slip over the head when clasped) or Sterling chains with magnetic clasps.

  • Helen M. Ritter says:

    I often teach simple jewelry making in two nursing homes and it is so rewarding to see the pride they have when they’ve completed their project. Too my surprise several men signed up and made their spouses and daughters Christmas presents. It is great.

  • Linda says:

    Larger jump rings might be easier for older eyes and hands…

  • Judith says:

    Maybe they’d enjoy hammering or texturing metal discs, rectangles or other shapes, punching holes in them, and connecting them to ear wires with jump rings.

    I’m sure they could learn to make ear wires.

    If you have beads with 1mm holes, they could make one-piece threader earrings — just hammer the tip of one end of a 3″ piece of 22g wire so beads won’t slip off; add beads “to taste”; and curve the other end of the wire into an ear wire.

  • Sandy says:

    You might want to try the jigs to make ear wires

  • Angela says:

    They can choose large charms or small pendants. Then use a jump ring to connect the charm or pendant to the ear wire. This would also work with clip-ons.

  • Kathleen Bennett (Kate) says:

    Hi Jerrolynn, If you have anyone in your classes with a pacemaker, it is not suitable for them to have magnetic clasps. I have a pacemaker and can’t wear and can’t use them. Such a pity as they are so helpful for older hands. I like the idea of the finished 24″ chains for slipping over the head. I’ll be 85’m in New Zealand in September, it would be nice to be in a class with your members, but I’m in New Zealand. Great work all you ladies are doing.

  • Charlene Nicholas says:

    Your an inspiration. I’m 68 and a caretaker for my guy. I never have the time to do anything fun. Would love to make jewerly. I did go to a class at our local library made two pair of earrings. Blessings to you.

  • Terri Wlaschin says:

    You could have them just put the bead on the head pin and use a pen to bend the wire over. No looped ring needed if they have pierced ears.

  • Terri says:

    Irene how did you start your shop? Did you have help learning how to use Shopify? How did you photograph your designs? I know nothing about this process. Where can I go for information.

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