For many people, retirement seems like a dream of not having to work and being able to relax and enjoy life. However, retirement poses its own challenges such as boredom, social isolation, and lack of purpose since working often helps people create meaning and a sense of belonging. One way to avoid boredom is to pick up a new hobby, learn a new skill, or spend time being active in different ways.
While October’s Victorian Seniors Festival provided a great opportunity to learn about a number of different activities taking place throughout the state, now that the festival is over, there are a number of ongoing activities that seniors can participate in throughout the rest of the year.
If you or your loved one are looking for new ideas, here are some options to consider for retired and elderly people to stay fit and active.
Activities such as quilting, sewing, embroidering, needlework and making jewellery are arts and crafts that are often enjoyed by elderly females. These activities are ideal because they can be done alone and are a great way of stimulating the brain and keeping the mind alert. Arts and crafts can also be rewarding as they usually produce a piece of finished work that the artist can be proud of and share with their family and friends.
George R.R Martin said that “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… The man who never reads lives only one.” Books provide an opportunity to journey into faraway places, learn about new things, and have adventures that might not otherwise be possible, especially for older people. Books allow people to escape from everyday challenges and focus their mind on something different. For people who might have trouble reading, they can use a magnifying glass or consider borrowing audiobooks from a nearby public library.
While this might seem strange for people who have not cared for a pet in the past, having a pet reduces stress-inducing hormones and increases the production of serotonin, the “feel-good” hormone. Caring for a pet can be especially therapeutic after the passing of a spouse and provides the opportunity to fill the void of having something to care for. There are also studies that indicate that having a pet can lower cholesterol and fight depression.
Or, if pet ownership is not an option, seniors can purchase a Cavalier King Charles Bundle which is a stuffed animal that breathes like a real dog and helps people relax.
Similar to caring for a pet, volunteering provides people with a sense of self- worth. Physical and cognitive decline can often happen when someone does not have a sense of purpose. Opportunities range from helping in community gardens to assisting other seniors with recreational activities or knitting blankets for premature babies.
Just like at any other stage of life, physical activity is very important for older people. While this can take a number of forms including walking, learning yoga, or taking low-intensity dance classes, spending time working on physical health is very important. This is crucial for both physical and mental health as activities such as ballroom dancing can lower the risk of dementia. During physical activity, having a GPS pendant or similar device to help alert family and friends if the senior is not safe is often recommended during these types of activities.
Contrary to popular belief, we believe that “you can teach an old dog new tricks” and starting a new hobby is a great way to keep the mind, body, and spirit healthy and happy.