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Keeping busy! Hobbies and stimulating activities for the elderly

If only I had the time! It’s a lament we’re all too familiar with. When retirement years finally arrive, time is with us in abundance. Some people transition gracefully, using the retirement years to develop new hobbies and interests that will see them through to his or her final years. Others find themselves lacking in activities to keep them stimulated, for a variety of reasons.

Hobbies are a great way of keeping an individual physically and mentally active, so it’s important to investigate activities that an older person might enjoy and will want to pursue. Ideally, it is good to have a variety of interests to keep both the brain and the body active. Here are a few tried and tested winners.

HOBBIES TO KEEP PHYSICALLY ACTIVE
Any physical activity (providing it is not extreme) is a good activity, especially for the elderly. Physical activity needn’t just be sporting in nature, it can be creative as well, such as gardening or dancing.

Gardening
A classic hobby for the elderly – and the not so elderly – gardening is a simple way to get swept up in the moment. It’s easy to grow fond of this satisfying, joyful activity that enables you to beautify your surroundings by tending to plants in the garden. For those losing mobility and strength, there are several ways to reduce the physical strain while continuing the enjoyment.

  • Arthritis websites host a range of low-stress gardening tools such as ergonomically friendly trowels, secateurs and even ‘reachers’ to pick up leaves or items on the ground.
  • Small stools and kneeling pads can make ground-based activities much easier on the body.
  • Tend to a small area at waist height only, such as a shelf or table of pot plants, eliminating the need for bending or reaching.
  • Hire a helper! Employ someone to come in and do the harder activities like pruning tall branches, digging holes or undertaking big garden clean ups.

Yoga
Senior yoga classes are gentle, yet effective enough to maintain flexibility, circulation and strength. They are also a wonderful social activity and a great excuse to get out of the home or regular living environment.

Dance classes
Gentle classes focusing on more traditional, upright forms of dance such as waltzing and ballroom dancing can provide hours of fun and are another way of combining exercise with socialisation.

Golf
A great way to get fresh air and gentle exercise, golf can be played alone or with friends. The amount of physical activity is optional – golf buggies are a wonderful option for those that need a break along the way!

Birdwatching
The simple act of watching birds flutter around the garden, perhaps enhanced by installing a small bird feeder, can be a pleasant diversion any time of the day. For those who are more adventurous, there are plenty of birdwatching groups to join that will get the elderly individual out and about in the fresh air – and pursuing a fun pastime with others.

MENTAL STIMULATION

Books
hobbies for the elderly at Sage aged careReading books is hardly a new idea, but reading is popular for a reason – it is simply a great thing to do for people of all ages! For those with failing eyesight who find reading difficult, there are no shortage of enjoyable talking books available to help you while away the hours.

Film
Going to the cinema is a great way of staying stimulated, and is a great way to break the pattern of day to day activities. An added advantage is that elderly people have the advantage of frequenting cinemas in daylight hours when it is far less congested.

The Internet
It’s easy to pass the time online, as many of us can attest! The Internet is a wonderful way for elderly people to keep up-to-date with news, current affairs, reading, and of course stay connected with family and friends through email and social media.

Study and short courses
For the elderly individual who is still mentally sharp and keen to learn, taking up a short course or even enrolling in a part-time course at a university can be energising, stimulating and a highly rewarding activity.

Sage Institute of Aged Care – it’s more than a job, it’s a rewarding career.

Vicki Tuchtan

Vicki Tuchtan

Vicki Tuchtan is the Academic Director at Sage Institute of Education. She oversees learning processes, teaching outcomes, resources and course development. A passionate advocate for bettering standards of training in Australia, she is currently writing her PhD thesis on defining quality training in the Australian vocational education sector.
Vicki Tuchtan

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