Why Hobbies Are So Important For Senior Health
It’s easy to develop passions as a young person. Whether we fall into a set of hobbies as kids or find our passions later in life, having a healthy body and an agile mind can help us build a set of interests that will see us through our entire lives. However, as we get older, it can be harder to engage with our passions as the basic responsibilities of life, such as working, raising a family, or tending to personal growth, get in the way. For seniors, reconnecting with an old passion can actually be a crucial part of healthy aging. Whether a senior is living at home and getting some extra help from a service like Seniors Helping Seniors or is set up in an assisted living community or nursing home, keeping hobbies and passions in sight can make a huge difference in how they view the world around them. For many seniors, the time after retirement represents a new freedom to pursue hobbies and interests, helping them to view the years ahead as an exciting moment in life. Every senior should have a hobby to help them enjoy their lives to the fullest, and here’s exactly why.
Hobbies are Actually Healthy
In addition to doing wonders to restore mental health in depressed seniors, hobbies can actually help adults stay physically healthy as well. Whether a senior is interested in a more active pursuit like group walks, swimming, or playing the odd game of golf, or is content to throw themselves into a new obsession with cooking, reading, or playing chess, it can all help foster a much more positive sense of self, a renewed interest in life, and the desire to get up and go rather than waste time in the house all day. For seniors, staying physically healthy isn’t just about putting in the exercise and eating right. A big part of overall health involves being mentally engaged and interested in the world around you. Even though seniors might have it harder in that area, especially if they live in a more closed-off area with limited access to the outside world, it’s still possible to create a sense of interest and wonder in the world by getting a truly engrossing hobby.
Group Activities Foster Connection
For seniors who are interested in stepping out of their comfort zone, there are tons of ways to connect with other people around a certain interest. From book clubs to library readings to wine tastings and cultural events, most cities and even smaller towns have community-oriented programs that exist to connect people with others that feel passionately about a certain subject. Even if an interest feels deeply personal and solitary, there’s no reason not to try and connect with others online via a chat room or message board, and social media can even play a part in helping seniors connect to others with similar interests. When someone is deeply absorbed in an interest or a passion, it’s only a matter of time before they try to find others who share their feelings. Reaching out, whether it involves stepping out into the world and meeting new people, or messaging someone online, is always a positive, healthy step toward living your best life.
Passions Actually Fuel Serotonin
We all know that serotonin, that helpful compound that decreases when the days get darker in winter and increases when we fall in love, is depression’s worst enemy. But guess what? Serotonin production isn’t just limited to once in a lifetime events like meeting your soulmate or scaling Mount Everest. Serotonin can actually fire up when you start to get passionate about a new interest or hobby. Even though starting on a new routine or engaging with a group of community members in a shared garden plot might not seem earth-shattering, the effect it can have on your brain is huge. Getting involved with a new volunteer organization, spending extra time finishing a special project, and even going out on scenic walks every day can help fight depression and keep seniors interested in what’s ahead for them. Rather than feeling purposeless and tired, hobbies allow seniors to feel reinvigorated, interested in life, and eager to move forward. Having a sense of purpose is hugely important, not just to seniors but to adults in all walks of life. When a senior gets depressed, that sense of purpose, whether it’s connected to being part of a family, a work setting, or a cause, can easily get stripped away. Having the right interests and the time in which to really pursue them, however, can be all a senior needs to get back on track.