Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Importance Of Hobbies For Seniors: Staying Connected, Sharp, And Healthy

[Image via Pixabay]
Last month I received an email from Maria of Hobby Jr. asking if she could share a post on the benefits of why hobbies are great for mental health, and of course, I jumped at the chance to have her share here. She went on to say as someone who has dealt with depression and anxiety, she has found that having a hobby - hers being quilting, sewing and knitting - that it can be the perfect prescription for boosting mental health, not to mention that it challenges the brain. 

I can relate 100% with her. When I am stressed or having a bad day, I make sure I make time to stop and crochet because it is my binky if you will. It instantly relaxes me, and relieves any anxiety I have. In fact, I will often take my yarn with me to work, get to work earlier just to have a few minutes of crocheting before work, and also spend part of my lunch break working on something. Though I do love my job, crocheting is what releases my stress and worries, and makes my day a whole lot better and smoother.

Maria goes on to say, "In general, no matter how old you are, hobbies can reduce stress, improve mood, offer feelings of accomplishment, and provide opportunities for socializing. Unfortunately, not everyone realizes the benefits of hobbies." Hobby Jr., though still in it's infancy, is a place for resources, DIY tutorial finds and other hobby related content. Please take a moment to visit Maria, and read this awesome article about The Importance of Hobbies for Seniors! Many things all of us can relate to.

Seniors often start to feel isolated when they get older and perhaps less independent, but hobbies often can counteract those feelings. There are many different types of hobbies that seniors can embrace, and the benefits to their mental and emotional health are significant. From reducing stress to boosting brain power and providing opportunities for socializing, finding a fun hobby can be a key strategy for improving a senior's quality of life in their later years.

Hobbies can reduce stress in seniors

Life can feel quite stressful for seniors as they head into their older years. They may be facing health or mobility issues or a loss of independence, and they may start to feel lonely as they lose touch with family and friends or adjust to a new living situation in a nursing home or assisted living facility. Starting a new hobby or continuing a treasured one can be a great way to combat those feelings of stress and these activities tend to provide a boost to one's mood.

Simple Most shares that there are several hobbies in particular that are shown to reduce stress, and ultimately, any hobby that a senior enjoys regularly is likely to elevate their mood and improve their mental health. Hobbies that are particularly good for stress relief include yoga, dancing, reading, writing, hiking, gardening, and knitting. These types of hobbies can also help to provide opportunities for socializing, another key plus that is particularly important for seniors.

Socializing comes naturally with many hobbies well-suited for seniors

Socializing is important for seniors as they age, as isolation takes a serious toll on a senior's mental health. Card clubs, book clubs, and dance classes are great hobbies that help seniors connect with others, and Elder One Stop suggests hobbies like woodworking, painting, scrapbooking, cooking, and even working with local theater groups too. Seniors may also enjoy volunteering or getting involved with a local church as a hobby that allows them to connect with others.

For seniors who are living in an assisted living facility or nursing home, there are likely many activities scheduled that are geared toward socializing and facilitating the chance to continue treasured hobbies. For seniors who are still living on their own, however, it can be a bit more challenging to find these opportunities. Some neighborhoods have card clubs, book clubs, or cooking or gardening groups, and community senior centers or YMCA facilities often offer great senior classes and activities that lead to socialization as well.

Hobbies help to keep your brain active too

Many of these types of hobbies benefit seniors by teaching them new skills and helping them keep their brains sharp as well. The Helderberg Society for the Aged explains that it is critical that seniors stay active and engaged in order to maintain their mental fitness, and trying new activities and exploring new hobbies is a great way to do that. Linked Senior notes that hobbies like doing Sudoku, brain games, card games, and crossword puzzles can be great for keeping up problem solving skills and keeping the brain sharp and these often provide a sense of accomplishment as well.

People's health may decline during the seniors years, but that doesn't mean that they have to give up their favorite activities. In fact, it is important for one's mental health to continue favorite hobbies as these activities help to reduce stress, challenge the brain, and provide chances to socialize with others. Beneficial hobbies can include activities like card games, cooking, painting, woodworking, and even volunteering or getting involved with a church, and all of these hobbies accomplish a great deal in terms of helping seniors to stay active, engaged, and feeling connected with others.

Thanks soooooo much for sharing Maria!

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