Older adults with worsening eyesight can struggle to choose fulfilling and accessible hobbies. Some individuals may feel embarrassed about their lackluster vision, while others may simply lack the inspiration to select beneficial activities. However, with a little guidance, elderly folks can enjoy a range of exciting hobbies that don’t require excellent eyesight.
Some of the great hobbies for elderly people with poor eyesight include virtual learning, volunteering at animal shelters, creating pottery, and making tactile scrapbooks. Seniors should choose activities that are within budget, near to home, and accessible.
Seniors struggling to start new hobbies due to lousy eyesight may just need a gentle nudge in the right direction. Let’s discuss some of the factors to consider before starting a new hobby and explore some fantastic hobbies for visually impaired older adults.
Factors to Consider Before Starting a New Hobby
Older adults and their family members or carers should consider a few factors before selecting a new hobby. Elderly folks with worsening eyesight may feel hesitant to start new activities or delve into new interests, especially if they’re receiving treatments for multiple health conditions.
Some of the most crucial aspects to consider include:
- Comfort level
- Residence type
- Additional health conditions
After all, not all seniors will feel equally comfortable learning how to play the oboe or visiting the local animal shelter. Residence type can also impact hobby selection. Older individuals living alone or with a partner might have a different set of options than those living in assisted living communities or nursing homes.
As mentioned above, additional health conditions can impact the ability to participate in new hobbies. An older adult with poor eyesight, arthritis, and COPD will have very different capabilities and preferences than someone with the beginning stages of glaucoma.
Caregivers must ensure the hobbies they recommend are fully accessible to the senior in question. For example, an elderly individual with moderate or severe hay fever might want to skip gardening and focus on indoor hobbies.
Finally, there’s the affordability threshold. Older people living on limited or minimal incomes may want to choose hobbies that are free or low-cost. Fortunately, many of the hobbies we’ll share today are budget-friendly and highly accessible.
There are tons of fun hobbies and activities that older adults with bad eyesight can enjoy. If you need a little inspiration, these diverse and exciting ideas should help:
Going for Walks
You’d be surprised at how much a simple walk can do. Taking a walk can get your heart pumping and blood flowing, helping you feel more limber and energetic.
Walking is a beneficial activity for older folks. Pulling on your tennis shoes and taking to the sidewalk could help prevent osteoporosis. It can also reduce blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease. Older adults with arthritis should incorporate walks into their daily routine, as walking can help maintain a healthy weight and reduce pressure on the joints.
Going for walks to a nearby park, restaurant, or movie theatre could be exhilarating. Imagine waking up each day and wondering what kind of adventure awaits you. Older people with poor eyesight might be afraid to go outside for walks without assistance.
Being able to read signage correctly is a crucial part of safely walking around a town. Individuals living in assisted living facilities may want to go strolling with neighbors or friends. In some cases, a staff member might escort you around the grounds or to a nearby store.
Of course, a walking partner isn’t entirely necessary, especially with a smartphone or tablet. Google Maps is an excellent tool with several accessible settings. Google Maps can ensure that you safely find your way. To use Google Maps for fun walks, you’ll need to:
- Download the app on a device with data.
- Enable GPS when prompted.
- Check the Google Maps volume setting to ensure it isn’t muted.
- Check your device’s volume setting.
- Type your destination into the ‘Search Here’ bar.
- Select the blue ‘Directions’ button.
- Choose the ‘Walking’ icon at the top of the upper blue bar.
- Select a suggested route.
After selecting your route, you can begin to walk. Google Maps will audibly tell you when you need to make a left or right turn or when you’re nearing your destination.
If you’d prefer not to have strangers overhearing your talking GPS, you can use earbuds or headphones while walking. Just be sure to keep at least one ear open to hear for potential dangers or hazards.
A ‘book-of-the-month’ club isn’t a novel idea, but older people with poor eyesight might begin to shy away from their once-beloved book club. When reading a book becomes a headache-inducing activity, you might wonder how you’ll ever be able to catch up with your favorite thriller series or romance novels.
Fortunately, there are audiobooks. Taped books (typically audio cassettes) are rare nowadays, but digital audiobooks and streaming audiobooks are all the rage. You can download audiobook apps to your smartphone, tablet, or computer to find the best books and highest-quality recordings.
Some of the best audiobook content is pay-to-listen, including Amazon’s Audible service. However, if you’re on a tight budget or don’t want to add another subscription service to your monthly bills, you can select a free or public domain audiobook.
Websites like LibriVox and Project Gutenberg are excellent resources for free audiobooks. You can browse helpful lists of free audiobooks as well. No matter which method you choose, listening to a variety of literature could help you experience a renaissance of the mind and soul. You might even feel inspired to start a local audiobook-of-the-month club.
As we age, our cognitive abilities can begin to decline. It can become challenging to focus on tasks, remember dates and times, and communicate effectively. Keeping your brain active and engaged is crucial to staying sharp throughout your golden years.
However, choosing the right kinds of brain-training activities can be a different challenge. Still, there are plenty of educational opportunities for seniors, and many don’t cost a cent. Even better, there are tons of free lectures and courses that don’t require perfect eyesight.
Audio lectures are an excellent way to enjoy higher-level coursework and learning without having to strain your eyes. There are thousands of audio lectures available online, and many are free to download or stream.
Some of the most highly-rated instructional websites also offer free, accessible educational content. For example, Coursera offers hundreds of free online courses, primarily consisting of videos and audio files.
Be sure to explore all the free online academic courses to find the ideal classes for your interests and skill levels. With dozens of broad subjects to choose from, there’s bound to be an exciting course that catches your eye.
Film and Theatre
Studying academic subjects isn’t the only way to learn new things. Watching films and attending live theatre shows can also broaden your mind and help you keep your wits about you. In many cases, you don’t even need to leave your home to enjoy high-quality cinema.
Many theatres offer live streaming performances for those socially distancing at home. Nearly every film ever created is available for download or streaming, thanks to services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, YouTube, and Peacock. A smart thing that older folks can do is create a list of their ‘must-see’ titles.
Take a few minutes to think about all of the films, musicals, and plays you’d like to see before you pass on. There’s bound to be at least a few titles that come to mind, if not several hundred. If you write these movie titles and production names down, you can start working your way through them. Of course, this shouldn’t feel anything like work.
Becoming a film and theatre buff has some notable perks.
- You have near-daily opportunities to enjoy delicious, buttery popcorn.
- You can get dressed up for your movie night, even if you’re staying at home.
- Most streaming films and television shows offer descriptive audio options that allow you to ‘see’ the movie with your ears.
- Watching films can fill you with emotions, memories, and interesting thoughts. A heartfelt movie might make you feel sentimental, nostalgic, delighted, or a little bittersweet. Equally, a great story could fill you with inspiration and hope, encouraging you to try even more fun hobbies.
Animal Shelter Duties
Seniors can benefit from caring for adoptable animals, but some older adults don’t have the means to adopt a pet. Volunteering at an animal shelter could be an excellent solution. Not only does volunteering allow you to give back to your community, but it could also help you live a longer and healthier life.
Even better, volunteering at your local animal shelter is typically free. Besides, spending time with furry friends has been associated with lower stress levels, decreased blood pressure, and a better mood. Volunteering at an animal shelter is essentially free therapy—but with a philanthropic twist!
The volunteer duties you’re prescribed are bound to vary. Some of the more physically strenuous tasks may not be suitable for elderly individuals. Still, your shelter organizer may ask you to socialize kittens and puppies, scoop litter, or help with feedings. Many of these tasks don’t require exceptional eyesight or body strength.
They may also reach out for assistance in organizing adoption events, which can be a ton of fun for volunteers of any age. Naturally, if you do have space, energy, and funds to adopt a pet, volunteering at your local shelter could help you find the perfect four-legged partner.
With old age comes wisdom. If you’re well-educated, it would be a shame to let your accumulated knowledge go to waste. Volunteering to become a mentor for struggling students could be the best outlet for your mathematics, writing, or science skills.
A great mentor is patient, kind, and always helpful. If you feel like you embody these qualities, you can investigate the MENTOR program. Before you get started, you’ll want to decide what subject you’d like to tutor. It’s crucial to be honest with yourself when selecting this.
After filling out a short profile, the MENTOR system will match you with in-need students in your area. Seniors with poor eyesight can contribute to a child’s education, even if they struggle to read their student’s textbook or notes.
Human beings learn in many ways, and some children respond better to auditory learning than visual learning. Be sure to indicate this preference when contacting potential students and their parents or teachers.
Older adults living in assisted living communities or nursing homes may not have the personal transportation necessary to participate in a mentorship program. Still, there are always opportunities to share your experiences and your wisdom.
Though it may surprise some readers, radio has experienced a significant comeback. However, it changed forms slightly. Nowadays, people listen to audio performances, lectures, and talk shows via their internet connection and electronic devices. Instead of radio boxes and radio waves, we have smartphones and Wi-Fi signals.
However, the Golden Age of Radio often featured trained actors, musicians, and comedians. The folks at home didn’t often create radio shows. Nowadays, nearly anyone can write, star in, and produce their own radio shows, but it’s called podcasting, and you don’t need a radio to get started.
Podcasts allow anyone with an internet connection and microphone to star in a personalized talk show. You don’t have to be a computer engineer or technical wizard to start a podcast. The only things you need are:
- A name for your podcast
- An idea of what you’d like to talk about on your podcast
- A reliable internet connection (preferably Wi-Fi)
- A smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer with a microphone
Of course, not all podcasts are audio-only. If you’d like to record videos of yourself speaking, you can also do that. Naturally, you’ll need a camera for that. Fortunately, most modern electronic devices come equipped with a camera and a microphone.
If your devices are frustrating and challenging to use, you may want to enlist the help of a friend, relative, or staff member. You may need to alter your device’s accessibility options to make the screen easier to read, and it might be helpful to have someone walk you through your device’s microphone and camera operation.
From there, you can read some helpful guides about starting a podcast. If you have lingering questions or concerns, why not reach out to someone you know? While a friend or family member might not have all the answers, they could offer helpful advice and support to keep you feeling confident and inspired.
Should you decide that making a podcast just isn’t for you, then perhaps listening to podcasts might be the better hobby. There are quite a few senior-friendly podcasts to check out, and subjects range from proper health and nutrition to how aging affects your sexuality. Either path you choose, you won’t need perfect vision to enjoy yourself.
Becoming a Potter
While the term ‘potter’ might conjure images of boy wizards and magical English castles, it’s a term that means “one who makes pottery.” If you’re someone who enjoys working with your hands and creating things, then learning how to make pottery could be a great decision.
Becoming a potter could be a years-long challenge and provide plenty of entertainment for you, your friends, and your family members. After all, if you’re crafting new clay creations every week or so, you might soon run out of a display room in your home or bedroom.
You’ll likely begin gifting your pots, vases, jars, and ashtrays to your most treasured loved ones. While pottery lessons aren’t always free, the money you’ll save on gifts each year could help balance the initial expense. Still, if making things out of clay doesn’t appeal to you, perhaps some gentle gardening will.
Many seniors can enjoy a wide variety of physical and mental benefits while gardening. As with many general outdoor activities, a little fresh air and sunshine tend to lift the spirits. Pulling weeds, digging with a trowel, or sowing seedlings can be a workout for your hips, arms, legs, knees, and back.
Older adults with severe arthritis or physical impairment may feel that their gardening days are behind them, but this just isn’t so. Many older people can enjoy container gardening with minimal space or mobility. With a little initial outside assistance and online shopping, you can enjoy a rich, colorful, green garden full of your favorite plants.
Many aging adults with poor eyesight are far from blind, even if their vision isn’t as unclouded or focused as it once was. When you have a gorgeous garden in your yard or on your patio, the details disappear into a dazzling array of colors and movement.
You might be able to let your eyes (and your whole body) relax and enjoy the moment. Say goodbye to stress and hello to a green thumb.
Learning a New Instrument
The thought of learning a new instrument can be daunting, especially if you can’t correctly see that instrument. However, many music instructors train their pupils to play music without staring at their hands or musical instruments.
This tactic encourages improved audio and muscle memory. It’s a technique that could be supremely beneficial for older adults with poor eyesight. No matter what instrument you’d like to learn, you can do so without looking directly at it.
Trumpets have raised keys and flared mouthpieces, making them easy to operate with eyes closed. Pianos exhibit a pattern of flat and raised keys that players can feel out and eventually memorize.
Learning a new instrument with poor eyesight is only truly challenging if your hearing is gone or you’re severely disabled. Even then, where there’s a will to learn and play, there’s a way.
While there’s a good chance that you’ve played chess or checkers before, you may not have mastered either game. Your retirement years are a great time to master your gameplay techniques and strategies, no matter what kind of games you enjoy playing.
Many board games feature moveable pieces that you can grasp and feel with your hands. Additionally, large-print playing cards make card games a breeze, even if you have your trifocals on. Bicycle makes a superior-quality deck of large-print playing cards that you can’t miss—the Bicycle Large Print Playing Cards.
When you get bored of playing table games, you can use that deck of cards to make your bicycle sound like a motorcycle. This skill might even come in handy if you take that bike camping with you—loud noises could scare off wild predators and keep you safe.
Camping and Hiking Adventures
Some older folks might not be physically fit or independent enough to pursue this hobby. Those who can enjoy regular camping and hiking adventures should do their best to get out and enjoy the wild world.
Connecting with nature can be a relief, especially if you’ve been cooped up in your home for a while. Camping, hiking, and outdoor adventuring have some incredible health benefits, some of which extend far beyond physical fitness.
Striking out into the wilderness is bound to be a great exercise for your whole body. Getting away from the hustle and bustle of city or suburb life could also help ease your mind and grant you a few sincere moments of serenity, peace, and reflection.
Still, camping and hiking can be somewhat dangerous, especially for those with poor eyesight. Seniors hoping to enjoy some campfire songs and gorgeous natural sunrises should join a camping group or team or go with friends and family members to be on the safe side.
If you’re not sure where to pitch your tent, try searching for the nearest National Park. Most US National Parks offer plenty of camping opportunities, hiking trails, and recreational activities for interested campers.
Becoming One With the Water
Older folks with severe arthritis or spinal conditions might not be able to comfortably take daily walks, even with pain medication and physical therapy. However, that doesn’t mean that elderly folks with arthritis and spinal pain can’t exercise and benefit from regular physical activity.
Water aerobics, physical activity in the water, is a wonderful way to get fit without putting excess weight and pressure on your joints. Many assisted living communities have large swimming pools, and some may host weekly water aerobics classes.
Performing simple, gentle exercises in the pool is a great way to build muscle strength, increase overall endurance, and boost your mood. Older adults with access to a swimming pool might want to practice swimming or water aerobics to enjoy these benefits. You won’t need 20/20 vision to take a few laps around the pool.
If you never learned how to swim, there’s never been a better time to learn. YMCA offers quite a few senior swimming classes (there are about 2,700 Y locations throughout the United States). However, older folks could also book personalized lessons if they feel uncomfortable or embarrassed learning how to swim with a group.
Making a Tactile Scrapbook
Scrapbooking is a hobby that has no end, but many scrapbooking products are geared toward those with average eyesight. If you’ve been struggling with vision problems, scrapbooking can feel like more trouble than it’s worth it. However, if you get creative, you might find that scrapbooking becomes more pleasurable than ever before.
Creating a touch-focused scrapbook is easy to do, and it can help you remember meaningful moments in your life. To start one, all you need is a few flat items. A button from a favorite coat or a leaf from a beautiful afternoon works wonderfully. You can also use ticket stubs with ribbed sides, hard vinyl records, or scraps of old cloth.
Whatever you own that might fit into a scrapbook pocket page could work for a touch-based scrapbook. The most important aspect is choosing items that mean something to you or that you enjoy touching. You can write, type, or dictate a small message to go along with each treasure and attach that note to the item’s page.
Even if your eyesight worsens, a friend, family member, or care worker will be able to read your messages to you as you feel your scrapbook items. This kind of tactile book is a beautiful way to hold treasured memories near and celebrate the new one you’ve yet to make.
You’ll need to consider a few essential factors before you can select a new hobby for yourself or an elderly loved one. Affordability and accessibility are hugely influential, especially for those with failing eyesight. An individual’s comfort level can also influence their final pick of activity.
Still, there are lots of potential hobbies that older adults with poor eyesight can enjoy. Some, like swimming, can help your body grow stronger. Others, like podcast production and playing music, could help you feel more creative. Some hobbies, like volunteering, are pure, simple, wholesome, and fun. So, what hobby will you tackle next?
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