22 Hobbies for the elderly
Having a hobby can help you establish new connections, improve your mood, and enhance your levels of coping with stress. Unfortunately, today everyone is busy with other activities. Hobbies can improve the life of the elderly and seniors by helping them to lead a productive lifestyle.
There are so many things that the elderly can do to help them become a part of the community and get rid of boredom and isolation. From busy community events that involve sports and volunteer work to individual activities, there are endless options.
As a retiree, this is the perfect time to enrich your golden years. Stay physically and mentally alert with the help of the following hobby ideas.
In this article we look at 21 hobbies the elderly could do. W have listed them below and then provide more depth about these pastimes later on in this page.
22 Hobbies for the elderly
- Focus on Health
- Fitness activities
- Caring for a pet
- Book reading
- Model building
- Bird watching
- Community Groups
- Adult Learning
1 – Focus on Health
As people age, health becomes a significant part of life. The NHS says that most people aged 65 and above spend most of their time sitting and lying down. It means that such people are at high risk of lifestyle illnesses such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes and finally, early death.
As such, people in this age group must aim for moderate activities each day. Physical activity reduces the risk of conditions such as cardiovascular disease, dementia, arthritis, depression and hypertension. By remaining active and healthy, the elderly can fight back the ageing process.
2 – Art
Are you artistically driven?
Art is a tremendous cathartic activity that can help the elderly to develop their artistic skills. You could engage in painting, sketching, acting, scrapbooking, photography, sculpting, art and craft, knitting and sewing, among others. It serves as an emotional release and helps in problem-solving, and improves attention and memory span.
What’s more, it is an activity that can be done socially with friends and family. They can associate with others and stimulate the soul and mind. Art is an activity that can be very rewarding especially for retirees.
Old people find artistic work to be therapeutic. You could enrol in an art class and hone your creativity, making it your hobby. This would be a great way of stimulating your mind and wade off symptoms of dementia that are common in seniors. Art therapy stirs memories and allows people with dementia to lead a quality life.
3 – Dancing
Not only is dancing a fun activity, but it is also a hobby that can help the elderly socialise and stay fit. It involves a slow and relaxing pace, an opportunity that allows the elderly to enjoy the beauty of movement.
It offers the opportunity to exercise and relax. Dancing is known to improve balance, functionality and gait. It also reduces the risk of falling, immobility and fractures. Stanford Social Dance did a study that showed how ballroom dancing can lower the risk of dementia. Researchers believed that seniors tend to be mentally challenged to follow complicated moves.
4 – Golfing
The elderly who golf get a lot of health benefits. These range from easy motion, strength, improved flexibility and relaxation, making golfing a favourite hobby for most retirees. You can read a review of golf clubs for the elderly here.
Because golfing can be done at any age, seniors can enjoy it for satisfaction, healthy competition and also improve their mood and hand-eye coordination. It is known to keep older people happy and stimulated. Golfing has the same benefits as yoga, as it is known to maintain endurance and increase flexibility.
5 – Volunteering
This is a hobby that can help seniors to share their talents with the community and boost self-esteem. A lot of communities tend to appreciate the extra help with mentoring the youth, clothing the poor, feeding the hungry and fundraising, among others.
It is a hobby that can restore the purpose of life and make the senior feel needed. Also, it is an avenue for expanding their social life. There are organisations that have volunteer positions that focus on good courses.
You can find some volunteering opportunities in your local area here.
6 – Sports
Most seniors prefer spots that are not too taxing such as golfing, swimming and dancing to stay physically fit. Not only is engaging in sports fun, but also boosts energy levels, balance and flexibility.
Water aerobics, which can be done while swimming, are relaxing without putting pressure on the joints. Ballroom dancing increases mental alertness as you learn routines and also improves coordination. Every sport has different effects on the body. Those played as a team have the effect of combating loneliness in old age.
7 – Fitness Activities
Apart from sports, you can get involved in fitness activities such as going to the gym, hiking, Nordic walking, walking and cycling to improve your health.
Nordic, for instance, is perfect for a good social life and well-being. This is a full body activity whereby walking poles are used to harness the power of the upper body. People with health concerns can have gentle walks to tone their bodies. You take the weight off your knees when you use Nordic poles.
It is an exercise that can prevent chronic illnesses, including asthma, diabetes and heart diseases. Nordic walking also helps you meet new people thus, improving your social life. When engaging in fitness activities, it is necessary to know what your body can cope with. Anyone with bone or muscle issues should first consult a professional fitness instructor before taking up any activity.
8 – Gardening
This is an excellent way of spending time outdoors and breathing in fresh air. It is a great opportunity to supplement your diet and improve your health by planting vegetables.
You could also prepare a beautiful flower garden for pleasure. As you spend time with nature, it could be a relaxing moment that helps you burn calories and strengthen your muscles. Gardening comes with many therapeutic and health benefits for seniors. You could also use a reclining garden chair to relax.
It is known to increase the levels of physical activity and mobility.
The hobby can also trigger the use of motor skills to boost endurance and strength while also reducing stress levels by enhancing relaxation. Great gardeners want to cut the lawn into a neat design and also grow some fruits.
There are plenty of elderly communities that offer seasonal gardening classes that teach the basics of watering, planting, harvesting and fertilising. If your loved one needs some gardening help, hire a professional caregiver.
Here is a useful video that provides some good gardening tips.
9 – Games
From scrabble to cards, games can keep the seniors’ mind sharp and focused. Adults who love mentally stimulating games are said to have sharper thinking skills than young people. Higher education has been said to decrease the risk of cognitive decline.
Educated adults have been known to have a desirable connection of synapses in their brains. This reduces the effect of dementia and Alzheimer’s. You could also keep your brain fit by engaging in crossword puzzles.
10 – Caring for a Pet
Did you know that caring for a pet produces a chemical chain reaction in the brain that can help in lowering the stress-inducing hormone known as cortisol.
The chemical chain reaction also increases the production of the feel-good hormone referred to as serotonin. Studies also show that seniors who care for a pet enjoy reduced blood pressure and lower levels of stress and cholesterol.
Old pets are great choices because they are calm and do not demand a lot of attention, meaning that old individuals do not have to run around and play like would be the case with the young pets. If your senior friend or family member enjoys the company of pets, you could contact your local rescue centre.
11 – Writing
Anyone can write a book as long as they are patient and can persevere. For seniors, writing is an excellent hobby that can help with stress reduction. Those interested could contact a local library for writing classes if they do not know where to start.
12 – Cooking
Completing a great meal can give you a sense of achievement and satisfaction. As the family or friends enjoy the meal, the senior is likely to feel excited, and this will then reduce stress levels. The individual could create meal plans, learn new foods and look for healthy diets.
They could alter between the gardening hobby and cooking.
13 – Puzzles
Puzzles are some of the most exciting hobbies for the elderly. There are different forms to choose from, but perhaps the most enjoyable is the jigsaw puzzle.
They come in different pieces from 500, 1,000 and 2,000 to the most challenging, 5,000. An individual can create weeks of fun because the puzzle does not have to be completed in one go. 3D puzzles have a different effect.
Some of the world’s most popular landmarks could be recreated to give the brain a better workout. This is helpful in keeping the cognitive functions active. For old people, the onset of dementia could be delayed or prevented.
14 – Book Reading
Reading is something anyone can enjoy. For seniors, reading a good book can keep them excited and focused. The genres to choose from are many, meaning there will always be something to pick.
If your loved one is a huge fan of sports and TV, the autobiographies to choose from are virtually endless. In fact, most best-sellers can be found on E-Books, meaning you don’t need a physical copy. Reading is known to sharpen decision-making, enhance memory, promote better sleep and reduce stress.
15 – Model Building
Model building is an incredibly rewarding hobby. It involves the creation of models from various elements such as kits and other materials. Also, it is a hobby that can help the elderly to unwind from life stressors as they also show off their creative flair.
Not only does model building alleviate anxiety and depression, but also enhances various cognitive skills, including visual motor skills, executive functions and concentration.
16 – Antiquing
Old adults enjoy the fun that comes with antiquing. They can unleash their historical knowledge to identify antiques and collect them. Also, individuals can use the hobby to make extra money. The activities can be enjoyed with friends or as an individual.
These could be used for interior décor in a home or office.
17 – Genealogy
This is more like putting a jigsaw puzzle together without the presence of a photo on the box and with some pieces missing. This is a popular hobby, especially among elders
It is a captivating hobby that brings the past to life and informs the present. Seniors have first-hand memories and insight with the older generation, which the young generation may not have. Genealogy enables people to learn about their family history such as stories surrounding the past, the relatives and where a majority lived or still live.
18 – Bird Watching
Bird watching is great for brain health. While seniors get to identify interesting birds, they also get to relax and exercise. This hobby slows the age-related cognitive decline and is great for mental health. It helps the elderly escape from life stressors to find solace in the beauty of wild birds.
19 – Baking
Baking is not just a fad for those who have extra time at hand. It is an amazing therapeutic activity for elderly people who love to cook. Although most recipes use exotic ingredients, baking should be an inexpensive activity.
This is a hobby that allows the elderly to stay creative, express themselves, and relax. It takes all your attention, allowing you to meditate and stimulate the senses.
20 – Travelling
This is a hobby that allows seniors to take some time out from daily life and see the world. Travelling offers endless opportunities.
It allows seniors to connect with new people and helps them to learn and understand new backgrounds. Travelling is rewarding in all ways of life, including socially, emotionally and intellectually.
21 – Community Groups
As people grow old, they become lonelier than before. Family and friends may relocate, leaving them alone, struggling to create new relations. Loneliness is upsetting and an element that can trigger health problems such as depression.
In many areas, community groups are focusing on different hobbies and interests. The most common are exercise classes such as yoga, singing groups, board game cafes, book reading, and dancing. Seniors can join these groups and fill their calendars with exiting social events year round.
22 – Adult Learning
Adult learning is almost the same as the community group and has various social benefits. The elderly get to meet people of their age with similar interests and can share stories, advice and tips in a given education course.
Adult learning boosts brain health. A report in the Guardian shows that adult learning delays the onset of Alzheimer’s’.
Exercise, a nutritious diet and good health enable old people to feel energetic. Longevity research shows that social and mental activity is just as profoundly important as physical exercise in healthy ageing. A vibrant social network, hobbies and leisure help the seniors to avoid isolation and live long.