It’s common knowledge that hobbies can bring people happiness and joy, but did you know that hobbies can also help reduce the risk of dementia and may slow down memory loss in elderly people? According to the Mayo Clinic, certain hobbies with a creative element can effectively keep cognitive abilities sharper. In other words, people who pursue artistic and creative past times are less likely to suffer from cognitive impairment.
Researchers have long stated the benefits of being physically and mentally fit, and engaging in hobbies is an excellent way to keep the mind active and always learning new things. Group activities are also more likely to boost mental abilities well into old age. That’s why family caregivers need to make sure their elderly loved ones stay involved with friends and community groups and why they should continue with existing hobbies or else explore new ones.
Participating in hobbies is not always easy as an elderly person because physical limitations, illness, lack of mobility and other conditions may interfere with once-beloved activities. However, there are plenty of activities that seniors can participate in, whether in a group or going solo.
Here are 6 creative hobbies for elderly loved ones to try:
1. Video Games
While it seems like a hobby for younger generations, there are many different video games that are interesting and available to seniors as well. Whether it’s a virtual sports game, a zany achievement game, solving puzzles or fighting magical creatures in a fantasy world, there’s an endless array of games that can ignite the imagination.
2. Book Clubs
Seniors can enjoy the classic works or talk about modern authors, but the best part about book club is the social component. Getting together with like-minded friends and discussing literature challenges the mind and the emotions. Of course, there’s always going to be laughter and good food associated with a robust book club, too.
3. Painting and Sculpture
An art degree isn’t required to become an artist, and many communities offer classes for all ages. Sometimes private studios or art galleries will also open their doors to beginners as well. Tapping into that creative part of the brain can yield some beautiful and surprising results that are sure to be treasured for years.
4. Knitting and Crocheting
Yarn arts have always been a favorite hobby for young and old, but seniors can benefit from years of experience in trying out new patterns and projects. The added bonus is that whatever they make also doubles as wonderful gifts for family and friends.
5. Bird Watching
Family caregivers may need to help with transportation for this hobby, but bird watching is a fine way to spend time outdoors in the local park, wetlands or even the back yard. Armed with binoculars and a species guide book, seniors can connect with nature in the best possible way. They can even create a bird sanctuary in their won yard to entice feathered friends to visit often.
While seniors may not be able to cultivate a huge garden anymore, there are all kinds of square foot gardening techniques and container gardens that can coax even the brownest thumbs to grow delicious vegetables and lovely flowers. It’s even more fun to try growing some exotic varieties of common plants just to show off.