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 considered hobbies yet in senior or assisted living, consider taking up one of the following 15 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.
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 nearby 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.
Writing is considered to be a get activity for promoting expression and creativity. Not only is this a great and easily accesible 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.
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.
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.
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.
One great benefit is that you'll have plenty of hats, scarves, and blankets around for those cool mornings and evenings. Another is that knitting can slow cognitive decline and prevent arthritis and tendinitis.
11. Refinish Wood
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 oppurtunity to channel your creative juices. Another plus: you can make some unique furniture for your residence in the community.
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.
Yoga is both physically and mentally good for the body. 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 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.
Review our other articles on senior activities: