As we head into summer 2020, we can reminisce about, and again look forward to, the joys of book clubs, coffee klatches, cocktail parties and tennis matches. But for now, we must find new enjoyment in the era of social distancing. Good news! There are countless hobbies for seniors to do at home that offer intellectual, physical and even social fulfillment, as well as mental health benefits — and many that are just plain fun.
Here’s a quick list of common hobbies seniors can do at home that may spark your interest:
- Cooking and baking. Most older adults know how to cook a few meals. Why not expand your portfolio with something special? Dust off an old cookbook and pick something you’ve never tried before. Visit com and search “recipes” — the options are practically infinite. Cooking and baking are indoor hobbies for seniors that offer the inherent feel-good reward of having created something. Something delicious!
- Gardening. Tending plants and flowers is a calming activity that can reduce stress. You don’t need a particularly green thumb, and the experience of turning a seedling into healthy, mature flora is a joy. Whether you raise potted plants indoors or sow a vegetable garden outside, gardening is a terrific retirement hobby. You can even replant and raise new blooms, and then gift them to friends. If you’re not sure how to begin, visit an online gardening community. Experts love to share tips.
Paired with gardening, why not learn some basics of nutrition? When you understand the value of certain veggies and herbs, putting healthy home-grown produce on your plate will be all the more satisfying.
- Art. Whether you paint, draw, collage or sculpt, there’s no substitute for creative expression as an indoor hobby for seniors. Art offers these wondrous benefits: stimulates the imagination, increases problem-solving skills, makes you more observant, boosts self esteem and reduces stress. Clearly, the health benefits of creative hobbies are wide-ranging and profound.
- Music, verse one: Play. Becoming a self-taught musician is easier than ever. Online resources abound, with free lessons and techniques for learning any instrument. Look forward to high levels of satisfaction when you produce a favorite melody for the first time. Like art, learning music stimulates the intellect and hones creativity.
- Music, verse two: Listen. You don’t have to play an instrument to gain health benefits from music. Spend time listening. Become a student of a particular genre: classical, jazz, R&B, or rock & roll. The more you listen, the more you’ll come to appreciate the nuances of the arrangements and talents of the musicians. At the same time, you’ll reduce stress and boost your mental health.
- Spend time online. In normal times, screen time deserves tighter time limits. But social distancing runs the risk of isolation, especially for older adults. This is a good time to reach out virtually, and face-to-face programs are best of all.
While some people may be uncomfortable with online technology, Skype and Zoom have proven to be senior-friendly social tools. Get started with a one-on-one conversation or small-group Happy Hour. As you become more practiced with the programs, try other virtual activities: book clubs, card games or a chess match.
- Exercise. While some exercises are easier to do indoors than others, they all have a positive effect on our bodies and minds. Try some of the classics: jog in place or walk around your house; lift weights but don’t overdo it; try yoga — if you’re a beginner, get started online. The goals (and benefits) are to enhance strength, stamina, flexibility and balance.
- Surround yourself with green space. New studies are showing that living and spending time among nature have myriad health benefits, from boosting our mood to bolstering our immune system. Grab a pair of binoculars and go birdwatching. Or go for a quiet hike in the woods and take pictures of the beauty around you.
The above is merely a starter list. Maybe it’ll spark ideas of your own — some hobby that brings you pleasure and contributes to your wellness. Whatever you do, retirement hobbies that keep you busy and engaged offer myriad benefits.
At McLean, our boundless lifestyle is designed for active participation in hobbies and wellness activities of whatever sort you like. Our campus is set on 125 natural wooded acres, the perfect setting to immerse yourself in the beauty and therapeutic powers of nature. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of choosing our Life Plan Community, contact us here.