When we’re children, we don’t think twice about spending the better part of our days running, jumping, and engaging in physical activities. As we get older, our hobbies tend to bring us inward, helping us to think critically about our lives and use our creativity to bring about new revelations and change. When it comes to seniors, it’s no different. Everyone needs hobbies and interests no matter what age they are. However, for elderly adults living in assisted living facilities or taking advantage of in-home senior care services, hobbies are even more important for senior health. Having interests keeps us connected to the world outside. It helps us look outside ourselves, think about the future, and enjoy the time we spend alone or with other people that much more. With seniors, the right hobby can have a seriously positive effect on the aging process by encouraging a positive outlook and sparking interest in a host of exciting mental and physical activities. When caring for a senior, encouraging independent interests is hugely beneficial. Here are just a few reasons why.
Hobbies Encourage Movement
Having a hobby doesn’t just mean sitting around in the library with a ton of dusty books. For many seniors, hobbies are a way to stay active and engaged. Even if a senior is interested in something a bit more esoteric, the mere act of getting out the house, walking down to the local library, and engaging with the world outside can have a whole host of positive effects. Many seniors who led highly active lives as young people find they can return to their former passions in old age, albeit in a different capacity. From engaging in group sports like golfing or swimming to tending a plot in a community garden, senior activities can involve enough physical activity to spike the heart rate, keep the blood flowing, and prevent issues arising from a too-sedentary lifestyle.
They’re a Powerful Antidote to Depression
When we’re truly interested in something, it can make the world around us totally disappear. Whether we’re absorbed in a new book series, a TV show, an activity, or a group meetup, our new interest allows us to connect with the world on a different level. For seniors who are suffering from health issues, family problems or from simply feeling alone and isolated in a new living environment, it becomes incredibly important to have an interest or activity to return to day after day to promote the idea of life as an exciting adventure that’s still yet to be lived. So many seniors suffer from depression after reaching a certain age and starting to believe that their best days are behind them. Allowing a senior to develop an interest in something beyond themselves can restore that sense of childlike wonder that they may have feel separated from for the majority of their adult life.
They Encourage Togetherness
Even if you love to read, watch movies, or do a hobby that’s generally considered to be a solitary pursuit, there’s always a way to make it social. For seniors who have a passion, there are tons of opportunities to find a group of like-minded people who are totally happy to talk all day about what inspires and excites them. Even if there isn’t a group out there yet for a certain interest, there’s no reason a senior can’t start one themselves. Where there’s one person interested in something, there’s bound to be a whole collection of equally-obsessed people who are ready and willing to meet in the name of their passion. A few great places to check out are local libraries, community message boards, and online forums that discuss local events. You never know what’s happening in your own community until you start putting your own interests out there and seeing who’ll bite.
They Increase Confidence
Getting out into the world doesn’t just help us feel like we’re part of something bigger. It helps put that extra stride in our step and makes us believe we’re needed, liked, and wanted in our community. Seniors are no different. It’s important to feel like there’s something out there waiting for you each day, even if it’s just another chapter in an addictive book or a new movie you’re excited about. For older adults who are wondering what the next phase of their lives will hold, finding the perfect hobby or group activity can bring about a renewed sense of purpose and inspire an entirely new outlook on life. Even the most antisocial or socially challenged individuals can end up getting a lot from social interaction, whether it’s through a group meetup or a solitary study session in a public library.