As you get older, it can be hard to find ways to spend your spare time. After retirement, you may find yourself with a lot of extra time, but health restraints keep you from doing the things you once loved. Even mundane activities, such as watching TV or reading, can strain eyes or cause headaches. In addition, many seniors have trouble getting around and are forced to entertain themselves right at home. If you find yourself in any of these situations, check out this list of hobbies for seniors that are not only fun but beneficial to your overall health.
Hobbies for Active Seniors
If your health is still in good shape and you are able to easily get around, take advantage of it! Here are some ideas for activities that can be done outdoors or in the community.
Playing games is a great way to stay active! Some examples of outdoor games that many seniors enjoy are:
Many games can be played individually, but if you don’t want to play by yourself, ask a friend or family member to join you for an afternoon of fun.
Exercise is important as long as you are safely able to. Be sure to consult a doctor before trying anything, but many seniors do well with light exercise. Some things you can try include:
- Flexibility or balance classes
- Dance, such as ballroom dancing or a Zumba class
- Walking – even a short walk a day is great exercise!
- Hiking or sightseeing
- Or, from the comfort of your own home, you can try a program like Wii fit, Just Dance or a workout video
If you enjoy more athletic activities, try taking up a lighter sport. You may be able to find a senior team in your community to join. Again, always check with your doctor before doing a lot of physical activity, but many seniors have had luck with swimming, golfing and even joining a bowling league!
One great way to not only stay active but get involved with your community is to volunteer somewhere. By volunteering at a place like a non-profit, homeless shelter or animal shelter, you will not only help make a difference, but you will view the world from a different perspective.
Many public facilities, such as libraries, also take volunteers. If you have a local theater, volunteering to be an usher isn’t only a great way to interact with people, but you also get free admission to shows and, often, a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into the show.
Connect with Others
If you live alone, you may be looking for opportunities to connect with other people. Some ways you can do this are:
- Join a senior social group. Many communities offer meet-ups for seniors to connect with other seniors. These are great ways to meet other people and do something fun!
- Join a club or group, such as a book club.
- If there’s an art museum close by, go to an art walk or gallery opening. You can meet new people, preview art and often they even provide drinks and light hors d’oeuvres.
- If you live near your family, get together with your children and/or grandchildren and spend the day at the park or zoo.
- If you live at a senior center or assisted living facility, they often put on events for their residents to connect with each other. Check with your building manager to find out what events are coming up.
For seniors who have always wanted to see the world and have the money to spare, travel! Visit the places you have always wanted to see in person. If you are traveling alone, you can join a tourism group to take in the full experience with other people.
For the Stay-At-Home Senior
If you prefer to stay at home or must because of health reasons, there are still many fun (yet healthy!) activities you can do indoors.
Games can be played indoors, too! Grab a neighbor, friend or family member and have a game night. Some examples of senior-friendly games are:
- Senior Moments
- A classic game, such as backgammon, checkers or chess
- Phase 10
Puzzles are a great way to keep your mind sharp! Whether it’s a classic jigsaw puzzle, crossword puzzle or brain-teaser, puzzles can be enjoyed with a friend or by yourself.
If you have a hard time reading small print, many puzzle books are available in large print to make reading easier and help you avoid eye strain.
Reading is a great activity, but as you get older it can sometimes hurt your eyes to read the small print. If you enjoy reading but don’t want to risk your health, many books are available in large print versions. If even large print is too much for your eyes to handle but your hearing is fine, opt for an audiobook instead. The great thing about an audiobook is not only do you get to hear a great story, you can do something else while you’re listening!
Get Fresh Air
Even if you can’t do anything active or travel far from your home, going outside for some fresh air every once in a while is important. Light activities such as gardening or bird-watching can be done outside. Even just sitting on the porch and enjoying the view is better than sitting inside all day.
Other ideas for hobbies you can do at home include:
- Restoration – take an old car, radio or furniture items and make them new.
- Art/Crafts – painting, scrapbooking, quilting, knitting, crocheting, sewing – the options are endless!
- Collecting or antiquing – start a regular or antique collection and learn about the history behind the items you collect.
- Genealogy – learn about your family history! There are many websites that can help you with this, or you may even have an old family book that can help fill in some blanks.
- Baking/Cooking – if you like to create in the kitchen, get experimenting! Have family over for dinner or donate any unwanted food to a charity.
Just because you’re aging doesn’t mean you should have to give up doing the things you love! These are just some of the hobbies that are safe and healthy for seniors to do. If there’s something you want to try but are unsure of the health risks, always check with your doctor first. There are plenty of hobbies that can be done in a wide variety of environments, so the most important thing is to make sure you are following your doctor’s orders. Then, pick a hobby and have fun!
What are some of your hobbies?