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As individuals adjust to life in assisted living facilities, finding new hobbies or rediscovering old passions can be a great way to connect with fellow residents.

Assisted living facilities are a vital resource for aging individuals. Data from the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living indicates that more than 811,000 people reside in assisted living facilities across the United States.

Assisted living facilities have changed dramatically over the years, making them ideal options for adults who may need varying degrees of help with daily activities. Such facilities can help with activities like bathing and preparing meals, but they also can help residents find and explore new or existing hobbies. As individuals adjust to life in assisted living facilities, finding new hobbies or rediscovering old passions can be a great way to connect with fellow residents.

Here are some possibilities:

Reading: Reading is a rewarding activity that can greatly benefit seniors and provide an engaging pastime for those with limited mobility. Many assisted living facilities offer activities that are designed to foster communication between residents and a book club can do just that. What’s more, reading every day may be especially valuable for people age 65 and older. A 2018 study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry found that dementia risk was considerably lower among men and women 65 and older who participated in intellectual activities like reading than it was among seniors who did not engage in such pursuits.

Gardening: AARP notes that gardening provides a host of health benefits that go beyond ensuring fresh fruits and vegetables will be on the dinner table. For example, vitamin D is vital to bone health, which is important for aging men and women who are vulnerable to osteoporosis. A 2014 study from researchers in Italy found that exposure to sunlight can help older adults get adequate amounts of vitamin D. Signing up for a gardening club can be a great way for seniors to get some exercise, enjoy time outside the assisted living facility and promote strong bones.

Art therapy: According to the Chicago Methodist Senior Services, art therapy is a creative form of therapy designed to help older adults with memory loss or those experiencing mental or physical stress. The Harvard Medical School notes that recent research has indicated that engaging in creative activities may be more effective at delaying cognitive decline than merely appreciating creative works. A 2014 study from researchers in Germany found that retirees who painted and sculpted had greater improvements in spatial reasoning and emotional resilience than a similar group who attended art appreciation classes. Many assisted living facilities offer art therapy or similar programs to residents, and enrolling in such programs can promote social interaction and provide numerous benefits to men and women over 65.

Assisted living facilities offer an array of programs designed to help residents develop rewarding hobbies that can benefit their long-term health.

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