Any parent of a child who is stuck indoors during a rainy day knows the continual complaint “what’s there to do!” For those of us who enjoy crafty hobbies, we are equally as familiar with the pleads from our family and friends – “please, no more doilies!” While the joy of exploring our hobbies can sometimes last a lifetime, there are often stages of our life where we search for new ideas and new adventures. Retirement years are a great time to explore new hobbies.
If you have an aging loved one or are the caregiver of a senior, understanding the importance of keeping seniors engaged and active is crucial. Boredom is a common complaint of seniors and can lead to bigger problems. To recapture the thrill of a more productive and busy life from their pre-retirement days, seniors have been known to pick up more undesirable habits like excessive shopping, smoking and online gambling to pass the time. The financial instability and health problems of these ‘new’ habits can be devastating.
Directing the senior to more productive activities is a great way to help keep them engaged. Building on their interests with new ideas can help spark their interest. If they hated knitting in the past, chances are they aren’t going to suddenly enjoy it today. But perhaps they would like to learn to weave or create a project with that new chunky yarn that is on the market these days (note: you can make an entire afghan in less than 2 hours – no previous experience necessary and it is made using gross motor skills). Find what they loved before and build upon it.
- If they loved cats but can’t care for one now – get one of the Joy For All Companion Cats (Hasbro)
- If they loved scrapbooking but don’t have the dexterity anymore – try virtual scrapbooking on a touchscreen computer where they can organize the pictures and get a book printed
- If they loved gardening but don’t have the mobility to work in the garden – try building a living wall. You can make one cheap using shipping pallets.
- If they loved golfing but medical conditions preclude them hiking the links – try a Wii golfing game or a virtual reality headset
- If they have a hobby (collecting coins, stamps, spoons, bird calls or collecting spiders, check with the local schools, youth church groups, scout groups, to coordinate mentoring youngsters into the hobby or maybe giving talks about the joys.
- If they loved teaching young ones – check out opportunities for them to be a reading buddy at the local elementary school
- Be creative and help find new outlets for lifelong skills. You, and the senior, will be amazingly surprised to the possibilities.