Hip-Hip-Hooray for National Hobby Month
January has been designated National Hobby Month. So we thought we’d take a look at hobbies and try to determine if some could have more benefit for an aging loved one than others.
In terms of the way we spend our time, hobbies are just one potential part of the overall category of leisure activity. Leisure activities, which include hobbies and sports, have known benefits to our immune system, our overall flexibility, and our memory. They can also reduce stress, improve our self-esteem, stave off heart disease, and improve the quality of our sleep.
Hobbies, Hobbies Everywhere
When we think of hobbies, we typically exclude leisure activities like running or sports. And while binging on Netflix certainly represents living a life of leisure, it’s not exactly active.
Merriam-Webster defines hobby as “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation.” So let’s look at some pursuits that aging seniors can enjoy.
Anytime we can get out of the house and go somewhere to enjoy our hobby, we benefit from the interactions we experience with others. Hobbies that involve outings may be physical, like playing pickleball or joining a chair yoga class. Or they can be less strenuous, like traveling or participating in a book club.
While hobbies in general can reduce the likelihood of developing mild cognitive impairment, participating in social hobbies reduces that likelihood even more.
Hobbies At Home
Of course, you don’t need to leave the house to enjoy a hobby. Plenty of seniors enjoy pottery, woodworking, quilting, baking, writing poetry, or any other number of activities. (My mom especially enjoyed working Word Search puzzles.)
There are also plenty of pursuits not traditionally considered hobbies that can be beneficial. Do you play video games? Surf the web? Shop online? These have also been shown to help reduce the risk of cognitive impairment.
Which Hobbies Are Best
Your instinct might be to say that no hobby is better than another, but a Mayo Clinic study would beg to differ. In fact, creative pursuits like painting, sculpting, or drawing represented the greatest safeguard against losing brain function. The catch? You need to start those hobbies as early as middle age.
Hobby As A Habit
At Ovation Home Care, we recognize the value of meaningful pursuits to each client’s wellbeing. That’s why an activity plan is part of our care plan for each person with work with and support.
Whether or not you work with Ovation Home Care, we encourage you to find two or three hobbies you enjoy and make them a part of your life. Taste several hobbies. Keep the ones you like.
Try to give your at-home hobbies a social aspect. For instance, if you like to sew, join a quilting bee. If you like to read, be a part of a book club.
Whatever you do, remember that life is meant to be lived to the fullest.
For Further Reading
Articles researched for the creation of this post. You’ll find some great ideas in these: