Pursuing a hobby is healthy at any age, but it has a significant positive impact on health for seniors. Hobbies for senior citizens can help them maintain cognitive, physical and mental health, according to a study published by the Public Library of Science.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2020 American Time Use Survey, seniors 65 to 74 spent 7.1 hours a day on leisure activities and sports, which would include hobbies. Seniors 75 and older spend 7.67 hours a day on these activities.
Find out more about the benefits of senior hobbies and learn what are some good hobbies for seniors to take up.
Benefits of Hobbies for Older Adults
Hobbies can help seniors in so many ways. Psychology Today and the National Institute on Aging list these benefits of hobbies for older people:
- Hobbies build an interest. With a hobby, you always have something to talk about to other people. According to Psychology Today, they “add layers to your identity, richness to your self-concept.”
- Hobbies can connect you. Some hobbies are solitary, but they still can be used to create new connections. You can join groups built around your hobbies and meet people who you otherwise wouldn’t.
- Hobbies can help battle depression. Studies cited by the NIA says seniors who find meaningful hobbies or activities say they feel happier and healthier and struggle less with depression.
- Hobbies can structure your day. Having things to do during the day encourages efficiency. You can set task limits and move from event to event if you have a schedule filled with hobbies and other events instead of having aimless days.
- Hobbies encourage “flow.” Psychology Today says getting “lost” in a project or hobby can help invigorate you. Immersion in an activity can help you be present in the moment instead of letting time slip by.
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- Hobbies give a sense of accomplishment. Completing a quilt or painting, or other hobby, can give you an endorphin boost. This can give your body and mind a sense of satisfaction.
- Hobbies help you cope with stress. Indulging in your hobby is more than a distraction from the challenges of the day. Hobbies give you something else to look forward to, which can ease your mind daily.
- Hobbies may chase off diseases. The NIA says participating in hobbies may lower the risk of certain health problems. Among these are dementia, heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer.
- Hobbies may extend your life. The NIA cited studies saying that attitude, happiness, life satisfaction and a sense of purpose are linked to living longer. Hobbies can help cultivate those positive feelings.
- Hobbies may sharpen thinking. Participating in certain activities, such as those that are mentally stimulating or physical, can have a positive effect on memory. The NIA says hobbies can fit the bill.
How To Make Time for Hobbies
With a full schedule of activities, even at a senior community, you may wonder when you’ll find time to tackle your new hobby. There are a few ways to make sure you can stay involved in your day and have your hobbies, too.
- Discover the hidden time in your schedule. You don’t necessarily need to schedule “hobby time.” If need be, lighten your load of unnecessary responsibilities and use the time on stress-reducing activities.
- Take a small break during the day. A hobby doesn’t necessarily need to take a large chunk of time. A short break to mount a few stamps or finish that painting can be a great way to clear your mind.
- Use your time wisely. Don’t just waste the day by going on on autopilot with television watching or computer time. Use those moments instead to indulge in something you’ll enjoy more, and discover other hobbies.
10 Best Hobbies for Seniors
Hobbies can be indoor or outdoor activities, and as big or small as you want. If you’re in a senior community, you might find classes or affinity groups that can support your hobby, teach you new techniques or just bring you together with like-minded friends.
Getting outside and enjoying nature can be enhanced by birdwatching. Check out some bird identification books, websites or apps, get a pair of binoculars or opera glasses, and you’re ready.
3. Classes and Continuing Education
Take a class in something you’ve always wanted to try, like a new language or calligraphy. Survey a nearby college catalog or sign up for something interesting at your senior community.
>> Read “Fun Classes for Senior Citizens to Take”
2. Coin or Stamp Collecting
These hobbies are among the most popular in the United States. Coins and stamps can open up worlds of imagination and will encourage you to learn more about people and places.
Are you passionate about your health? Walking clubs provide company and conversation, and you can find classes in tai chi, chair dancing, swimming, yoga and more. Find one to fit your ability level and start participating.
>> Read “Top 10 Chair Yoga Positions for Seniors”
5. Games and Sports
Card games and board games are a great way to get people together for fun. Low-impact sports, like golf or pickleball, can bring together a winning combination of fitness and socialization.
Do you have a green thumb? From growing fresh vegetables to cutting gardens, you can get your hands dirty and make a beautiful difference in your surroundings. Some senior communities set aside gardens for their residents to use.
Learning a new instrument or picking up one you’ve already learned is a fun way to connect with other people. Music can boost mood, reduce stress, foster social interactions and help motor functions.
Enjoying a night on the town, a shopping excursion or taking in a new show at the local theater is always more fun in a group. Get together with friends from a senior community for a fun shared experience.
Theater, singing and dancing can be your calling. Colleges, community centers and senior communities may have their own groups ready for you to join and start participating.
10. Visual Arts
There is something magical in creating a painting or a sculpture, taking photographs, or sketching. Novices and seasoned artists alike channel creative energy and experiment with different mediums while making new friends. These activities may also help manual dexterity.
Have Fun With New Hobbies at a Senior Lifestyle Community
Senior Lifestyle communities are structured with your satisfaction and safety in mind. We offer classes, fitness, outings and more to keep you happy and engaged.
Find a Senior Lifestyle community near you or contact us today for more information.