Caregiver's Corner: The Skinny On Why Hobbies Are Critical To Senior Health
Whether you are living at home, or in an assisted living facility, learning a new hobby is a low-cost, high return activity. Many hobbies require few materials and are easy to administer. The benefits to your health, however, are invaluable.
1) Creativity Keeps Your Mind Engaged
Better than crossword puzzles or other purely mental stimulants, creative activity is good for your brain. With a hobby, you’re typically doing something creative with your hands. Whether gardening, bird watching, crochet, or painting, learning a hobby engages your mind and body. Having a creative outlet is also great for managing stress and frustration.
2) Hobbies Encourage Movement
Diet and exercise remain important to healthy living, no matter how old you get. However, exercise becomes more and more difficult with the challenges in mobility and strength that come with aging. Instead, it’s good to try to incorporate as much movement into your daily activities as possible. Walking while talking to a friend is one example. Another great way to build in movement is a hobby, even if it’s just walking down the hall or to the backyard.
3) Social Interaction is Vital
Choosing a hobby you can do with others is a great way to have frequent, meaningful social interaction. It’s so important to have fulfilling interaction with other people as you age. Much of life slows down. You typically will have a lot more time on your hands. Fill it with other people as much as you can. A group hobby is one great way to do it.
4) Personal Development Builds Confidence
Many seniors suffer from feeling useless or of low value to the world. They’re no longer working or keeping house and many feel they have nothing to contribute. Learning a hobby gives them goals to work toward and achieve. They can track progress and celebrate success. It’s so important to keep engaging in some kind of personal development to maintain and build self-confidence. Again, a hobby is great way to do that.
5) Keeping Active Prevents Depression
Depression is a serious issue for many seniors, especially after suffering the loss of a spouse or another traumatic event. People don’t visit as often as they once did. Inactivity breeds loneliness and loneliness turns easily to depression. Some required medications also increase feelings of loneliness and depression. Having social interaction, personal development, and an outlet for creative expression are all important in preventing or combatting depression. Learning a new hobby wraps all this up into one activity.
Learn Something New
Aging can be a very confusing and frustrating experience. It’s challenging to keep the mind and body engaged. Stress and anxiety are common and depression robs quality of life from many. This is why hobbies are critical to senior health. What hobby will you learn?
The next Family Caregiver University class will be held on Tuesday– February 25, 2020 and will focus on Hobbies- Why they are important to Older Adults and their Caregivers. Community Members will share their research and suggestions as older adults age into a new chapter in life –and still have a desire (need) to be creative.
For a full list of Family Caregiver University classes provided by the Caregiver Resource Network- please call (888) 456-5664.