Retirement isn’t a time to rest on your laurels. It can be an opportunity to act on long-cherished dreams, strike out on new adventures and participate in the pastimes you want to pursue. In fact, according to the National Institute on Aging, engaging in meaningful activities has health benefits for older adults, including longer life span, decreased risk of developing health problems like dementia, heart disease and stroke, and increased happiness and resilience. Whether you want to add a few more pastimes to your list of favorites or are looking for inspiration, here are 5 fun hobbies for seniors:
1. Game, Gamers!
Video games aren’t just the domain of Gen Z and millennials. Increasingly, older adults are opting to engage in interactive digital entertainment, i.e., video games, with 44% of Americans age 55 and older reporting that they play video games at least once a month. Not only is gaming a fun way to reduce stress, there’s also evidence that video games can prevent mild cognitive impairment. Plus, there’s a social element to gaming. Even if you don’t play multiplayer games, you can bond with grandkids over the parrots you’ve added to your Minecraft menagerie, or swap success stories about solving the daily wordle. Plus, there’s a near infinite variety of video games, from online card games and tile games like solitaire and mahjong to sports video games like FIFA, PGA Tour or Madden NFL.
Of course, non-digital games are an option, too. Hone your skills at chess or learn the rudiments of bridge. Studies show that people who play card and board games are more likely to maintain their cognitive skills as they age. And for seniors who want a creative way to collaborate with friends and family on adventures and quests, there are tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons or Warhammer.
2. Get Creative
According to artist, author and creativity coach Jill Badonsky, “The process of creativity produces optimal conditions for being alive.” Indeed, studies show that artistic engagement offers an array of benefits, including improved cognitive and physical health. Plus, there are so many ways to engage your creativity — knitting, crocheting, painting, drawing, pottery-making, photography, woodworking and writing are just a few of the possibilities. Creativity has fringe benefits, as well: It can be an opportunity to socialize, play, learn something new, express yourself, and produce something meaningful to share with others.
3. Focus on Fitness
The benefits of being physically active are well documented. Exercise boosts cognitive health, reduces the risk of disease, strengthens bones and muscles, and supports your ability to perform everyday activities. Whether you’ve maintained an exercise routine for decades or are just now finding time to include more activity in your daily life, retirement can be a perfect opportunity to try new ways of moving your body. You might take up pickleball, try chair fitness or tai chi, swim laps or sign up for water aerobics.
4. Be a Lifelong Learner
“As you plunge into learning some new art or skill, the world around you appears new and bursting with infinite horizons,” writes Tom Vanderbilt in his book “Beginners: The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning.” In addition to inspiring in you a feeling of possibility, following a path of lifelong learning can bring a sense of fulfillment, improve memory and decrease the likelihood that you’ll show signs of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.
Where might your curiosity lead you? You could learn to play a musical instrument, take a cooking class, or sign up for courses at a local university.
5. Adopt a Pet
Who can resist the loving look in a dog’s eyes or the contented purring of a cat? There’s a reason pets tug at your heartstrings. Interacting with animals can lower the stress hormone cortisol and increase the feel-good hormone oxytocin. Having a pet can also encourage you to get more exercise and may increase your opportunities to socialize. As work and family commitments decrease, you may be able to dedicate more time to your pet, ensuring they get the attention, exercise and play they — and you — need.
Time to Enjoy Yourself at Westminster Village
If you’re looking forward to doing more of the things you love — or to finding new hobbies for seniors to ignite your enthusiasm — consider independent living at Westminster Village. Here, a maintenance-free lifestyle gives you more time to explore, experience, play and create. Whether your pursuits take you to our state-of-the-art fitness center, our fully equipped art studio, or our woodworking shop, or inspire you to try on-site workshops or to access classes at nearby Purdue University, you’ll find ample opportunity to enjoy the rewards of meaningful engagement. Contact us to find out more about independent living at Westminster Village.