For retired seniors, creative activities are more than just fun. Hobbies prevent boredom, increase satisfaction with life after retirement, and can even help prevent and delay dementia and cognitive decline. Studies have shown that creative activities can help with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia (1). For those who are already suffering from dementia, creative activities can be a great treatment option and help seniors express and access emotion. (2) Getting creative engages the brain in ways that daily life doesn’t, and helps keep you sharp well into your later years. Many seniors find themselves with a lot of time to fill once they’ve retired. Hobbies can help fill your days with meaningful, fun, and satisfying activities. Taking classes or joining groups of others who share your hobbies can also provide you with meaningful social connection, which is vitally important for seniors’ health and happiness (3).
Whether you want to revisit old hobbies or find new ones, you’ll love this list of 10 creative activities for seniors to enjoy!
10 Creative Activities for Seniors
Dancing as a hobby has many benefits. It is, of course, very helpful for staying fit and improving core strength, balance, and muscle tone. Dance is also often a social event that makes it easier to stay connected to others and make new friends. There are many different styles of dance, from adult ballet classes, to line dancing and ballroom, to energetic Zumba. For those with a more casual interest in dance, line dancing or social dances can be a fun way to get to know new people and get a little movement in. Seniors who are serious about their athletic pursuits might enjoy taking dance classes at a local gym, community center, or senior living community.
Many types of crafts are available for a wide range of interests and skill levels. Some crafts seniors enjoy include:
- Vinyl and paper crafts
- Stained glass
- Floral arranging
Try something new, or take up a craft you used to enjoy. You can use books, online or in-person classes, or even YouTube to learn a new craft or refresh your skills. If you’re worried about getting stuck, start with simpler crafts and move on to more advanced ones as you improve your proficiency.
Painting and Drawing
You have many options when it comes to painting and drawing. While some of us might be gifted at drawing lifelike still-lifes, portraits, or animals, even beginners can enjoy creating more abstract art or landscapes. MasterClass or Skillshare offer many types of drawing and painting classes to get you started. YouTube also has lots of online teachers and even online courses. Additionally, you could get books from your local library on this subject. Painting is a great fine motor activity that also allows you to express your creativity, and create something beautiful for your home or a loved ones’ home. Some artists find success selling their art, either in person at craft fairs and boutiques, or online on sites like Etsy.
Cooking and Baking
Learning healthy cooking and baking skills can be a great asset to your health and happiness. Baking delicious treats is also a good way to make new friends or impress your neighbors at your senior living community. Or, make a meal for your loved ones to bring people together and enjoy important social connection.
Playing or listening to music is a fun creative activity for seniors. Music has also been proven to be an effective treatment for the management of dementia symptoms (4). If you’re feeling ambitious, you could learn a new instrument. Playing the piano is a great place to start, although upright pianos are difficult to move and store. Electronic keyboards are inexpensive, take up little room, and allow you to practice your craft using headphones. If you play an instrument, consider finding a local music group where you can play with others.
If you’re not feeling ambitious enough to learn to play an instrument, music can still be a great hobby. Listening to music will lift anyone’s mood, and now is a great time to explore new music styles and artists. Listening to live music is an excellent social activity, whether it’s a concert at your local conservatory or just a coffee shop open mike night.
Gardening is an amazingly therapeutic hobby that can have both physical and emotional benefits. Starting a garden can be intimidating, not to mention expensive, so you may want to start small. Growing houseplants or joining a community garden can be a great way to begin. A windowsill herb garden will provide you not only with delicious herbs, but also a beautiful view and a sense of creative accomplishment.
Creative writing and poetry can be a brilliant means of expression and creative outlet. If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the idea of writing the next great American novel, try a simple daily writing exercise. Try writing one page of literally anything! You might be surprised at what comes out. You could also consider creating a memoir or autobiography of your life for your descendants to read. Your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, or other family members and loved ones will likely find your life story inspiring and fascinating.
Acting or Theater
It’s never too late to try something new. Try your hand at acting! Seniors are often in demand for most local theater productions. Even a small background part or a non-speaking part can give you a fun way to spend part of your days, and allow you to meet new people in your community. You may be surprised at how thrilling live performance can be, no matter what part you play in the production.
Making something with your hands is a good creative activity for many seniors. It allows you to express yourself creatively, and provides a unique sensory experience that helps keep your brain young. You’ll need some specialized equipment, so look for a class near you. Live pottery classes are available almost anywhere. Check with your local art center, library, or university.
Digital art is a challenging and satisfying artistic medium. It’s a good option for seniors with arthritis, Parkinson’s, or other physical challenges that make using your hands more difficult. Graphic design, digital painting, or photo manipulation using software and tablets can open up new artistic possibilities.
Hobbies are not just a fun way to pass the time for retired seniors, although they do excel in that regard. Creative activities are a way to improve life satisfaction, stimulate your brain, and prevent dementia and cognitive decline. Stellar Living hopes you enjoy these 10 creative activities for seniors!