If you have loved ones who are elderly, you want to give them the best quality of life. Many studies attest to the benefits of hobbies and leisurely physical activities for seniors. This article will discuss some of those studies and the best hobbies for seniors. It will also provide tips on how you can encourage your senior loved ones to engage in these pursuits.
The need for hobbies and leisurely activities is especially true for the elderly who are receiving senior care in their own homes. Without proper assistance, they can become isolated and lonely. This article will also provide tips on how to assess a care provider who includes these needs in their holistic care.
Studies on the Benefits of Hobbies and Leisure Activities for Seniors
Several studies focused on the benefits of hobbies and leisurely activities among the elderly. An article on Psychology Today stated that elderly people who engaged in particular pursuits, such as playing a game, doing a crossword puzzle, or playing a musical instrument, developed improved executive functioning abilities and memory. This lowered their risk of developing dementia.
In 2010, a study found a positive association between pursuing hobbies and leisure and gaining better physical health as measured through decreased stress hormones, lower blood pressure, and decreased body mass index.
In March 2020, a study was published showing that having hobbies was associated with fewer symptoms of depression and a 30 percent decrease in the risk of feeling depressed.
Seniors with In-Home Care
When seniors are in a care facility, they have the opportunity to socialize with other people their age. There are also leisure activities scheduled daily that they can choose from. If they have hobbies, they can often find others who enjoy the same things, and they can do these together.
However, many seniors now prefer to age in their own homes. In-home care is available to take care of their health needs and daily assistance for bathing, changing clothes, grooming, preparing food, and home chores, as needed.
One thing families must check, however, when choosing an in-home care service is how they meet the socialization and leisure needs of the elderly. If they do not include these in their daily services, the senior can slowly deteriorate into depression which affects physical health, as well.
Choose a service that provides care accompanied by companionship, friendship, and daily social conversations. They must encourage the seniors to identify activities they used to enjoy and continue doing those they still have the capability of doing.
Especially therapeutic for preventing or slowing down mental decline are activities that stimulate the brain. These include playing board games, solving puzzles, reading, and writing. Watching TV programs that are mentally stimulating is also helpful. Any hobbies the seniors enjoy also keep their brains active.
It is also necessary to accompany seniors to go out of the house for other activities and not only for doctors’ visits. They can go out to see other family members or friends. They can be brought to the park. They can enjoy a concert or a theater performance. An in-home service that can provide all these would be the best choice for your loved one.
How to Encourage a Senior to Engage in Hobbies and Leisure Activities
1. Talk to them about the benefits of hobbies and leisure activities.
When discussing the benefits of hobbies and leisure activities with seniors, it is important to stress how these can improve their overall well-being. Mention how these activities can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and decrease the risk of developing dementia or depression.
If the seniors are currently engaged in any hobbies or leisure activities, be sure to mention how much they enjoy them. This will encourage them to continue doing what makes them happy.
2. Make a list of activities they used to enjoy and those they can still do.
Making a list of activities that the elderly loved to do in the past is a great way to help encourage them to continue doing those activities. If they can still do the activities, it will bring them happiness and keep their mind active.
If they are unable to do some activities anymore, looking at the list and reminiscing about memories will still bring joy. Bring out the projects they did or photos of them doing the activities they loved.
3. Help them find companions who share their interests.
One way to help seniors engage in their hobbies and leisure activities is to find companions who share their interests. This can be done by talking to family and friends, looking for groups that meet regularly to do activities the seniors enjoy or finding online forums or social media groups with people who have similar interests.
This can help the seniors connect with people they may not have otherwise met. It can also provide them with support and encouragement to keep doing the things they love. Having others around who understand and appreciate their interests can make the experience much more enjoyable for them.
If you have a loved one who is a senior, encourage them to pursue their interests and find ways to help them stay engaged in activities they enjoy. It will make a world of difference in their overall health and happiness.