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15 Hobbies for Seniors in Senior Living

Explore 15 hobbies for seniors to try in senior living communities. Seniorly offers this list of hobby ideas that can help keep seniors active and engaged.

By Emma Rodbro · Updated Dec 2, 2022
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Retirement is often viewed as a time to kick back and relax, but there is such a thing as having too much free time on your hands. As a resident of a senior living community, you have a variety of options available to you that can help keep you actively engaged with others and mentally stimulated. Whether it’s taking fitness classes or joining a book club, taking advantage of social activities and cultural outings as a part of senior living can stimulate the mind and help prevent or delay memory loss. If you haven't teakn up a new passion in senior or assisted living, consider taking up one of the following 15 hobbies for seniors we've listed.

1. Become a bookworm

Regular reading provides active mental engagement that keeps the mind sharp. For residents in assisted living with limited mobility, reading offers a healthy alternative to passively watching television.

2. Play board games

Much like reading, board games challenge the mind and encourage critical thinking. As an added benefit, many board games require multiple players which means you get to enjoy social engagement as well.

3. Practice a musical instrument

If you already know how to play an instrument, continuing to practice in your senior living community provides valuable mental stimulation. If you don't know how to play any instruments, learning to play one as a new skill helps keep more areas of the brain remain active. You'll not only showcase the discipline to learn an instrument, but you may gain new friends as you practice.

4. Dance

Dancing is something that many of us love to do and also comes with multiple benefits. Learning new dance styles is not only fun, but provides a safe physical activity that can promote heart health and improve range of motion. If you live in an assisted living community close to a studio, don't hesitate to ask if they offer any senior classes. 

5. Crossword puzzles/Sudoku

Crossword puzzles and Sudoku improves memory and increases concentration power. Regular use of these puzzles have been proven to help seniors delay the onset of memory loss and even, in some instances, prevent it all together.

6. Write

Writing is considered to be a great activity for promoting expression and creativity. Not only is this a great and easily accessible outlet for many, but it also has the added benefit of allowing you to share your made-up or life stories with loved ones and future generations.

7. Paint

Similar to writing, painting is an activity that enhances self-expression and positivity. In addition, this art form can help with problem-solving and motor skills. 

8. Swimming

One of the best, low impact physical hobbies you can engage in is swimming. This sport boosts cardiovascular health and muscular strength, and serves as great therapy for those suffering from osteoarthritis.

9. Gardening

If you enjoy being outside, gardening offers a form of exercise that can help increase your mobility and motor skills as you work with your hands. More importantly, spending time in the sun and around nature is therapeutic for many.

10. Knitting or crochet

One great benefit is that you'll have plenty of hats, scarves, and blankets around for those cool mornings and evenings. You can make gifts for others or donate to those in need. Another is that knitting can slow cognitive decline and prevent arthritis and tendinitis.

11. Woodworking

If you've long worked with your hands but believed it just wasn't possible in retirement, consider woodworking as a hobby. Refinishing old wood with classic or intricate details gives you plenty of opportunity to channel your creative juices.

12. Build small-scale models

No residence is complete without the right decorative pieces. Whether you love old ships or model airplanes, taking on small-scale model work as a project challenges the mind and focuses your efforts on following the steps of completing a particular task.

13. Yoga

Yoga is good for both body and mind. It can minimize hypertension and stress, improve your balance, and strengthen core muscle groups. Best of all, there are various levels of yoga classes available based on physical ability, so there's nothing out of reach with yoga.

14. Mentor children

For a hobby that offers social engagement and a chance to give back to the community, consider becoming a mentor in the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program. You'll be able to pass on your experience while shaping a young mind in need of a positive role model.

15. Research family history

Finally, take the time to research your family history. The research will keep your mind active as you delve into the history of your parents and those of your spouse, not to mention aunts, uncles, and other familial relations. The information you put together can be passed on for generations to come and benefit your family.

Any of the hobbies for seniors above are ideal for residents in senior living, and you'll find that many communities take great strides to accommodate residents in the pursuit of these and other passions.

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written by:
Emma Rodbro

Emma Rodbro

Emma Rodbro is Seniorly’s Head of Product Experience & Operations. Emma’s passion for reducing social isolation in aging populations was undoubtedly influenced by her own experience as a teenager and spending time with her grandfather. Emma went on to earn her Bachelor or Arts in Public Health and Sociology from Brown University and holds a Master’s of Social Work from the University of California, Berkeley. When she’s not at work, Emma is a volunteer at DOROT, a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the challenges of an aging population.
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