June 24

11 Hobbies for Seniors: The Ultimate Guide

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You spent most of your life taking care of others’ needs; now you don’t know what to do with your time? 

Maybe you worked a lot of hours to provide for your family. Or you stayed home and spent most of your days tending to your kids and helping with your grandkids. 

Either way, your focus was always on someone else, and now that you’ve reached your retirement years, you have more time on your hands and don’t know what to do with yourself.

We’ve compiled a list of popular activities below, and we are confident you will find your new hobby here.  

Why Seniors Need Hobbies

As you reach retirement age, you need to shift some of your focus to yourself. What do you want? Pay attention to what brings you joy and gives you meaning. 

Something like a new hobby will help keep you busy, and depending on what you choose, that activity can offer health benefits as well. 

Activities for Active Seniors

Seniors benefit greatly from staying as active as possible. Some sort of exercise is vital to keep up health, strength, and mobility.

Some favorite hobbies among seniors include gardening, hiking, book clubs, maybe even volunteering. You can build homes for Habitat for Humanity like President Jimmy Carter, but whatever gets you moving is a great option. Let's look at a few ways you can stay active.

1. Gardening

Gardening is tending to an area in your yard designated to growing plants. Some people like to grow flowers, while others prefer herbs or vegetables. 

Seniors who practice gardening will benefit from a decreased risk of dementia. Also, because gardening lowers your stress-level, you will find yourself in a better mood. 

Starting a garden requires a few basic gardening tools, seed, and a location. It can be a bit time consuming, but gardening is a great pastime to help you be more active and even eat healthier if you grow some vegetables.

2. Hiking

Hiking is a more vigorous activity. For seniors, hiking improves their bone health, which reduces their risk of osteoporosis. It also improves their blood circulation. 

People who hike have a wide range of nature trails to choose from, with difficulty levels that vary from an easily accessible butterfly boardwalk to a challenging hike along a wilderness trail.

All you need to start hiking is a good pair of shoes or boots, and some people will benefit from a walking stick as well. 

Hiking is a perfect activity for seniors who enjoy nature and fresh air. 

3. Going to the Gym

An athletic center is a facility with many different exercise machines and group classes. From yoga to pool activities, gyms offer a lot of variety for active seniors.

Belonging to a gym helps seniors get out of the house and socialize while improving their health and bone density. 

Visiting local facilities is a great place to start. Some offer guest memberships so you can try it out before committing.

In the current climate going to the gym is not a great option for seniors. You should look for online classes or videos that can help keep you moving. When trying these workouts, remember to look for classes that lightly challenge you without going over your capabilities.

The National Institute for Aging provides a lot of great resources for senior fitness.

Activities for Seniors with Limited Mobility

Some seniors might lose mobility due to health conditions or injuries, and their favorite hobbies might be too difficult to do. 

Losing mobility, though, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun anymore. There are a variety of other things a senior with limited mobility might enjoy. 

4. Swimming

Swimming is a low to no-impact activity since the water supports your weight. Swimming or swim classes have tons of physical and mental benefits. Water exercise is one of the best physical therapies for rehabbing serious injuries.

Finding a way to stay active with limited mobility is difficult, but pool exercises provide aerobic activity and an opportunity to maintain or gain strength due to water’s resistance qualities. Swimming doesn’t put any stress on joints and can improve mobility. It also decreases the risk of heart disease. 

You can find aerobic pool classes for seniors at most community pools. When entering and exiting a pool, you might require assistance. Make sure the pool offers this. 

5. Games

There are many games a senior can enjoy, either solo or with a group. You may enjoy board games like Chess or Checkers, or you might like to try your hand at card games or Bingo. 

Games help improve memory, boost brain function, and help with hand-eye coordination. 

You can purchase most board games at a local retailer or online. And you can find social games, like Bingo, at many different community centers. 

Libraries are also an excellent place to find groups who get together for quiet social games and activities.

6. Reading

Reading a book can transport you to another world. There might be books you always wanted to read but never had time before. Well, now you do. It helps you sharpen your mind and improves your sleeping habits. Reading also boosts mood and increases levels of happiness. 

Books are wonderful, but if you have trouble seeing or reading, try an audiobook while you take a walk, or plant a flower.

You can get a library card at your local library and check out books for free. They offer audiobooks too. 

If you don’t like how solitary reading is, try joining a book club to socialize and talk about the books you are reading.

Activities for Crafty Seniors

A lot of people have an eye for art or need a creative outlet. If you fall into this category, you might enjoy trying your hand at some crafts. 

Most crafts are inexpensive and can be done at home. Crafting can be a solitary activity you do just for yourself, or it can be very sociable. You can pair up with a friend or join one of many hobby enthusiast groups who get together to pursue their interest in their favorite craft.

7. Scrapbooking

Scrapbooking is a fun crafty way to keep your memories at your fingertips. It involves organizing and documenting your photos and keepsakes in a book. You can add stickers, quotes, colorful paper, stencils, and paint to add to your photo album's design. 

For seniors, this activity encourages relaxation and boosts memory. Looking through old mementos and photographs can inspire the recollection of treasured memories. 

To get started with scrapbooking, dust off that box of old photos, go to a craft store to get yourself a book, and some craft supplies. And get creative.

8. Painting

Painting is a great way to express emotions or ideas with paper and color. You can use many different mediums of paint and utensils to create the effects you want, from brushes to knives, watercolor to acrylics. 

Seniors dealing with a lot of ailments might benefit from painting. It is therapeutic, and it helps keep the mind sharp. 

You don’t need much to start painting, just paper, a brush, and some paints. Not to mention, there are fun classes you can take and groups you can join too, if that appeals to you. 

And don’t forget, you’re doing this for you, there are no right or wrong ways to paint.

9. Knitting/Crochet

Both knitting and crocheting are methods of looping yarn around either a hook or needle to make different styles of knots. You can create all sorts of fun and beautiful textile creations, from stuffed animals to bed throws.  

Either yarn craft is fun and beneficial for seniors. It is a form of relaxation and a sense of gratification when finishing projects.

Knitting and crocheting are inexpensive activities to dive into. All you need is yarn and hooks or needles to get started. 

Other Enjoyable Activities

There are other activities you might enjoy that don’t fit into the categories above. These activities range from listening to music to playing a new sport. 

You may want to consider something completely different. Here are a couple of hobbies that are often overlooked. 

10. Genealogy

Genealogy is an interesting activity that helps people uncover their family history and their lineages. 

If you are interested in learning about your kinship, you might enjoy the search to find clues. You’ll find yourself talking to relatives about your family history, looking through old newspapers, researching historical records, or even obtaining a genetic analysis. 

This activity only requires a computer and internet connection and maybe a trip to your local library. It can provide hours of interesting reading and new insight into your family history. 

11. Write a Memoir

Everyone has a story to tell. Writing a memoir allows you to tell yours. 

By sharing your autobiography, you get to embrace different stages of your life. But more importantly, you get to pass down your life experiences to your children. 

To start writing a memoir, you do not need to be a wordsmith. Just grab a pen and notebook and start writing! 

Quick Recap

So, we’ve done a basic outline of some activities above. Let’s go over them again to help you decide which one you want to try out first.

  • Activities for active seniors include things like hiking, gardening, and joining a gym. Many activities are great at increasing your endurance and strength. 
  • Activities for seniors with limited mobility may want to try something like swimming or playing Bingo. You can even join a book club. 
  • Crafty seniors might enjoy expressing themselves through different forms of art like knitting, painting, or even scrapbooking. Craft hobbies help keep your mind sharp and help maintain hand dexterity.
  • A couple of other activities you might enjoy include genealogy or writing a memoir. Both can help you reconnect with your past and leave a piece of you for your future family. 

If you are still unsure of how to spend your free time or what you can do within your physical or mental limitations, our Aging Life Care Managers can help. 

Get Help From an Aging Life Care Manager

Now that you have retired, you need something to do that makes you happy and keeps you busy, but you don’t know what. 

An Aging Life Care Manager can help. We will meet with you and evaluate your limits, as well as what you like and dislike. Our Aging Life Care Managers are experts who can help you find resources and guide you through this new stage of your life. 

Request a free consultation to speak with one of our Aging Life Care Managers about finding the perfect activity for you today.

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Life over 50 is complicated. From illnesses to general aging-related difficulties, there's a lot to learn and a lot to cope with. We understand and we're here to help answer questions and provide guidance on your options.


About the author

Amy Natt, MS, CMC, CSA

President & CEO, Aging Life Care™ Manager

“I am dedicated to working with older adults and their families to maintain dignity and enhance their quality of life.”

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