You had done many things when you were much younger — always surrounded by friends and family — but now you live alone and spend most of your time at home. Life does not have to be boring. Regardless of your age and your current lifestyle, you can pick up fun (or new) hobbies to accompany you.
There are many awesome hobbies for seniors living alone. Some of the best ones are gardening, painting, or caring for a pet. Perhaps think of the things that you have always wanted to do but could not do in the past. Now is the time to explore some of those interests and turn them into hobbies.
Awesome hobbies can kill boredom and isolation. Throughout this article, we’ll explore the benefits of having hobbies, what awesome hobbies a senior living alone like you can pick up, and how you can benefit from developing these hobbies. Below are 13 awesome hobbies for seniors living alone.
The Benefits of Developing Hobbies
Hobbies are essential to a child as they can have positive effects on the child’s education. Hobbies inspire children. And when children do well in any of the hobbies they pick up, that motivates them.
Developing hobbies does not just apply to young children, however. Seniors can also get the same benefits. Picking up new hobbies at any age can be just as inspiring.
Other benefits of developing hobbies are:
- Hobbies and activities can stimulate the mind. Seniors should engage in fun hobbies to strengthen their minds and body. Fun hobbies also feed the soul — they make you feel happy.
- You have the chance to socialize. Just because you’re living alone doesn’t mean you can’t socialize with others. You can pick up new hobbies, attend classes, and meet new people — attending classes via Zoom also counts!
- Hobbies can help you release stress. Living alone can be stressful to some, and once retirement hits, loneliness soon follows. Awesome hobbies create endorphins, so you can release negative energies and focus on what you enjoy doing by picking up hobbies.
- You can create life balance. Both young and older people should make a life balance, but if you couldn’t achieve that in the past, this is the time for you to do that. A balanced life is a happy life.
- Challenge yourself. Picking up a new hobby isn’t always easy, let alone picking up many new hobbies. Take this as a challenge, enjoy the process, and see your achievements.
- Hobbies can improve your health. Because some hobbies keep you active, like jogging or hiking, you can feel improvement in your health. Eventually, activities like these no longer feel like “to-dos” but more like hobbies.
- You feel a sense of purpose. Every hobby has a purpose, so by doing or accomplishing a hobby, you’re giving yourself a goal. Things you enjoy doing enrich your life.
- You can make extra money. If you’re good at something, why not share that talent with others? Your hobbies can always be your side-hustles.
While there are many hobbies you can pick up, you’ll want to try out activities that can benefit you, like making you happy. Some hobbies require you to be physically active, while some don’t need much energy. Whichever you prefer, we recommend physically, mentally, and emotionally stimulating activities for your overall well-being.
If there’s one thing 2020 has taught us, it’s the importance of growing your food. The pandemic has also made people spend more time at home, hence the growing numbers of people gardening at home. Gardening is an excellent hobby for seniors living alone because it doesn’t always involve other people in the process — just you and your garden.
According to a Stockholm study, gardening can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke by up to 30% if you’re over 60 years old. It’s not surprising considering how gardening feeds the soul. Gardening makes seniors feel happy when they see their plants grow.
Gardening gives you a sense of accomplishment — a purpose. Growing vegetables, for example, requires a lot of care and attention. When your vegetables thrive, not only do they make you happy, but they also provide you with nourishment when you eat them.
If you have space for a small garden, invest your time into landscaping it. Once it’s ready (it could take months), you can start planting seeds. Attend to your crops or flowers daily and watch them grow — it’s a beautiful feeling.
If you don’t have space for a small garden in your backyard, you can always ask around if any of your neighbors have a little land you could share. You can also make a garden in your own home. It is possible to do gardening indoors.
Who says you can’t exercise at home? All you need is a yoga mat and a pair of good sneakers. There’s also plenty of workout videos on YouTube these days.
Alternatively, you can also:
- Go out for a walk or a jog. Get some fresh air. When you exercise at the park, you can socialize with other people and make new friends.
- Do yoga. If you find specific yoga postures intimidating, you might want to get a yoga teacher to guide you in the first few months of picking up the activity. You don’t want to risk injuring yourself.
- Swim. Swimming can strengthen your breathing, bones, and joints. If there’s no swimming pool where you live, you can always opt for a membership at a public swimming complex nearby.
- Practise Tai-chi. If you find yoga a little too intimidating, there’s still Tai-chi. Tai-chi’s benefits include relieving stress and depression, building muscular strength and stamina, increasing circulation, integrating body and mind, and improving posture, memory, and concentration.
Painting can be therapeutic, so it is one of the most popular hobbies that seniors pick up during retirement. With all the time you have now, there’s never enough time for art. Anyone can learn to draw.
Painting is all about self-expression. This form of art therapy can help seniors improve their mental, emotional, and physical health and well-being. Here’s how painting can benefit you as a senior:
- Improve your motor skills and coordination. Seniors with arthritis or joint pains can benefit from the slow movements that painting offers. When painting, you’re not only moving your hands, wrists, and fingers, but you’re also exercising your brain and vision.
- Improve mental health. Dealing with too much noise is not healthy, so sometimes you just want to be alone. Painting calms the nerves and improves your mood, hence making you feel happier.
Whether you paint at home, by the ocean, or in a class with other seniors like you, painting is a relaxing art that keeps you company.
Photography is another form of art that can be fulfilling to seniors living alone. There’s joy in capturing moments and looking back at them again. As people grow older, they become more interested in capturing images of the world around them.
You can take pictures anywhere, even at home. Capture images of your plants, the things you own, and friends and family members who come over every now and then. Get out of the house and explore the countryside with your camera.
You don’t necessarily need to have the latest camera. A smartphone with a decent camera can do the job. But if you’re serious about creating high-quality photographs that you can share with the world, then getting a dedicated camera won’t hurt.
If you prefer videos over pictures, why not try videography? Compile all of the videos you’ve captured and turn them into a short movie. You can use Da Vinci Resolve for free if you’re serious about color grading.
The older you get, the more sentimental people become. Seniors can find joy and happiness in watching moments of their lives. No words can describe the pleasure of reliving these moments, even if it’s just watching them through a screen.
Seniors can also jump into vlogging. They can make videos of their daily routines, their hobbies, and many more. Here’s a video from the Great Depression Cooking channel hosted by the late Madam Clara, where she shared recipes with which she grew up:
Writing is another great hobby to have. Seniors living alone can benefit from writing short stories, poetry, even songs. There’s no limit to creative writing, so seniors are free to write about anything they like and as much as they want.
With websites like WordPress and Blogger, anyone can write out their feelings, thoughts, ideas, and knowledge. Seniors who love writing can always write about their lives in a journal, which they can save privately or share publicly. Or you can start writing about your future, as the benefits of future-self journaling have scientifically proven to be great for your mental health and achievements.
Writing offers many benefits, especially to seniors. Writing can take seniors down memory lane. Some people still write handwritten letters, so seniors can always write to their friends and family who may be far away.
Writing can prevent dementia in older people. Seniors should exercise their brains and engage with words and numbers. They can always write using their hands or gadgets.
Caring for a Pet
Many seniors like having animals around, which is why you often see retirees living with cats or dogs. If you can’t live with an animal for whatever reason, perhaps you could care for someone else’s pet. Pet caring can be therapeutic and rewarding.
Animals can have positive effects on seniors. For example, having a pet can help seniors reduce stress, increase social interaction, and lower blood pressure. It’s therapeutic to have animals around because animals like cats and dogs, for example, don’t worry much about tomorrow, which is something scary for seniors.
It has also been proven that pets can have positive effects on people with depression and loneliness. Seniors living alone might feel lonely and scared at times, so having an animal as a companion lifts them emotionally. Besides, caring for a pet gives a senior a sense of purpose.
Many retirees choose golf as a hobby, perhaps because it is a hobby that they can enjoy outdoors alone or with friends, on a lovely day. There’s much to love about golf. It is a non-intense workout that is good for both mind, body, and soul.
Seniors can improve their fitness with golf — all that golf swinging and walking on the golf course consumes energy. Sure, you’re going to ride a cart to get around. Even so, you’ll be taking thousands of steps to reach every round of golf holes at the golf course.
Golfing requires a lot of walking. Walking is good for the body as it improves your circulation, lowers blood pressure, and burns calories. Seniors who walk on the golf course will also benefit from golfing as the sports help them improve their memory.
Also, golfing helps the body create endorphins. When seniors manage to make the putt, they become happy, and in return, they get endorphins. Sure, golfing can be frustrating at times, but it needn’t be if seniors golf for fun.
Volunteering for different causes like charities can be beneficial to seniors. Volunteering is another hobby that can give them a sense of purpose. It is enriching to be able to contribute to society even at an old age.
Volunteer programs usually don’t require a lot of commitment. What’s more important is getting an extra pair of hands to help make the volunteer programs a success. Seniors can always volunteer at their local churches, mosques, or charities.
Seniors can choose programs that suit their current lifestyle. They shouldn’t choose programs that are too much for them to handle because the idea of volunteering is to keep them occupied but not stressed out. Seniors can also sign up for teaching programs that allow them to teach in places like orphanage homes or caring for children with disabilities.
Knitting and Crocheting
There’s a reason why you often see seniors knitting and crocheting. These art forms are very therapeutic and rewarding. Imagine the feeling of seeing your grandchildren wearing the scarves you knit or crochet — very rewarding.
Knitting and crocheting can improve seniors’ well-being and their cognitive abilities. Both art forms are also useful for their hands. And both art forms have been proven to help seniors deal with illnesses like depression or chronic health conditions.
Some seniors who knit and crochet choose to sell their arts, not because they need money but because why not? If you don’t mind selling your crafts (they don’t always sell much, though), you could do this to make some extra bucks from your hobby.
Learning How to Play a Music Instrument
It’s never too late to pick up a musical instrument. While you might not become a successful pianist, you can play your favorite songs or perform for friends and family, at least. Some seniors even perform at their churches.
Learning music can keep your brain active. You can fight dementia with the help of a musical instrument. Besides health reasons, picking up a new musical instrument will also help you fill up and manage your time.
Some of the best instruments for seniors to learn are:
Dancing is also a useful hobby for seniors to pick up as it promotes fitness and self-expression. Many seniors who do not practice an active lifestyle eventually become overweight, hence deteriorating health. Dancing can help them stay in shape and boost their mood.
Dances that are suitable for seniors are:
- Line dancing
Cooking or Baking
For seniors who never cooked or baked, now is the time to learn how to do that. Both cooking and baking are therapeutic, which is why they are perfect hobbies for seniors. Seniors can always record every new recipe they try — maybe post their journey on social media.
Cooking is perfect for seniors with dementia. Seniors with dementia tend to withdraw from social activities, but cooking can help soothe their anxieties. That’s because cooking or baking activates the seniors’ senses.
When seniors touch, smell, see and taste the food, they engage with the activity. These familiar sensations can bring back good memories — of good food and the joy of sharing good tastes with the people they cared about. When seniors with dementia see the delicious food they’ve created, they will feel happy.
Happiness can trigger happy memories. When seniors think of happy memories, they don’t feel lonely. Instead, they become more thankful for the goodness that life has to offer.
Cooking and baking encourage social bonding, which is very important to seniors. Cooking and baking also promote self-expression. Seniors can opt for cooking or baking classes where they can make delicious meals with others.
Seniors who live alone are usually independent, but that doesn’t mean they cannot suffer from boredom or isolation. Humans are social beings. Even if we are no longer running around catching up with life’s hecticness, we still need to move around and keep our body running actively.
Seniors with hobbies are generally happier than seniors who don’t. Socialization and physical activities have been proven to be beneficial to seniors. As long as they can move around freely, nothing should stop them from enjoying what life has to offer.
- Independent School Parent: The Benefits of Developing a Hobby
- Crestwood Manor Online: The Importance of Hobbies for Seniors
- AZCentral: Hobbies are Good for Your Health
- The Guardian: Gardening as Good as Exercise in Cutting Heart Attack Risk
- Food52: 6 Indoor Gardening Project Ideas for Any Size of Home
- Tai Chi for Health Institute: Tai Chi for Osteoporosis
- Buesken Art: Can Anyone Learn to Draw? Yes, and Here’s Why!
- AgingCare: The Healing Power of Pets for Seniors
- Home Care Assistance: How to Enjoy the Health Benefits of Golf for Seniors
- Lifeline24: 5 Musical Instruments for Older People to Learn