Hobbies Keep Older Adults Active, Happy, and Healthy

Engaging in enjoyable hobbies and active participation in social activities is vital for the well-being of older adults. After retirement, you suddenly have a lot of time on your hands. Hobbies keep a person active and engaged.

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Hobbies Keep Older Adults Active, Happy, and Healthy
4 Min Read May 22nd, 2022 Updated:November 16th, 2022

Once you retire, what will you do with your free time? If you are already retired, are you remaining physically and mentally active? Are you enjoying your life?

When you are retired, you have more free time for activities. You may have many things on your 'to-do list.' You might think about traveling or spending time with your children and grandchildren. There is still room for more and having a hobby or two can keep you mentally and physically fit - but just as important - make life more enjoyable.

According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), engaging in a hobby you enjoy can help maintain an individual's well-being and independence as they get older. The NIA says an active lifestyle is more than just getting your daily steps in. It includes activities that are meaningful to you, and hobbies can do the trick.

Hobbies can be some of the most rewarding things in your life. It's what you might look forward to each day, right behind being with your family. 

Here are some creative hobbies you may want to consider for yourself or an older family member.


Gardening is a fun hobby to start because you can put as much effort into it as you desire and within your physical abilities. Tending a garden connects you to the outdoors and can improve your mood. Gardening can also encourage physical exercise. The amount of the activity can be modified based on a person's overall health and mobility.

Working outside in the sun daily has numerous benefits for your overall health (so long as you adequately protect your skin). Sunshine helps you with Vitamin D. Vitamin D is vital for your bone and immune system health reducing your chances of developing osteoporosis.

The physical activity of gardening keeps you active and reduces your risk of a heart attack or stroke by as much as 30%, in research published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The sunshine and physical activity also improve your mood and reduces stress and anxiety. Furthermore, you get to eat nutritious fruits and veggies if you decide to grow those in your garden. 

Perhaps you want to add color and add some landscaping around your home. Flower gardens can do the trick. You can get as elaborate as you wish. Some people enjoy adding a few flower beds here and there - other people enjoy the challenges of a more extensive garden. Either way, you get to decide. 

Gardening can be a tricky hobby to break into at first, as you'll likely go through months of day-to-day work without seeing too many tangible rewards. However, after you've invested a good chunk of your time, you'll be thankful because you now have fresh food to eat and flowers to share with your friends, along with a fun new hobby.

Model Building

Model building has always been the hobby expert's hobby, meaning that only people who are incredibly devoted to their craft do it. You often see people building models in TV shows and movies, but finding someone who does so in real life is challenging. Nevertheless, you should try it, as it can be addictive.

There's something gratifying about putting so much time and care into the tiniest details and seeing all your hard work manifest into something more significant. Model building is also a great hobby to do with others, as you can all build different pieces and have them come together at the end of everything.

Working on Cars

You could work on model cars and trains or work on the real thing. Whether you're restoring an old car or are putting some extra work into upgrading your diesel truck, this hobby is exciting and rewarding. 

Be careful, however, if you are working on an actual vehicle. Jay Leno, the former host of the "Tonight Show," suffered burns from a fire while working on a car. According to reports, Leno is expected to fully recover from the burn injuries. Leno has worked on vehicles most of his life, so it can happen to anyone. 

Local communities often have car shows where people gather and show off their restored and customized vehicles. There are numerous car shows nationwide and even worldwide, from smaller shows with local restorers to major shows featuring people who work with restoration full-time. 

A black car.

If you're upgrading your vehicle, not only will you reap the rewards of your hard work when your car is restored and drives nicely. For example, many people enjoy as others turn their heads as they drive by in a fully restored 1955 Ford Thunderbird. It can be a challenging hobby to start, but you'll quickly lose yourself to it once you're in it.

Many Options Available – Choose A Few That are Fun

You or a loved one can enjoy many hobbies in their 'golden years. Whether it be playing cards with a group of friends regularly, arts and crafts, cooking, learning and playing a musical instrument, writing, bike riding, and so much more. 

Online games, like solitaire, can be fun and keep the mind active. There is little doubt that remaining active physically, socially, and mentally has many benefits as you get older.

Dr. James Leverenz, a neurologist at the Cleveland Clinic's Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, says being active probably influences your risk of dementia in the future.

There's enough data here to suggest that being socially, mentally active -- along with what we know from other research, physically active -- probably does influence whether you're going to get dementia down the line. And you can reduce your risk by being mentally and physically active.

If a potential hobby involves physical activity, check with your doctor before starting. Although moderate physical activity is probably safe for most people, medical experts suggest talking to your doctor before you begin a hobby if it includes any physical effort on your part.

Find something that you enjoy doing! These are only a few creative hobbies to start when you're older, but they're great jumping-off points for expressing your creativity. Make sure not to force a hobby, but instead, find one that feels rewarding to you.

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About the Author

Mallory Knee is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty and fashion. She particularly enjoys writing for communities of passionate women who come together for a shared interest and empower one another in the process. In her free time, you can find Mallory trying a fun new dinner recipe, practicing calligraphy, or hanging out with her family.

LTC News Contributor Mallory Knee

Mallory Knee

Contributor since September 25th, 2020

Editor's Note

Most people work hard to achieve an enjoyable - and hopefully long retirement. Having a successful retirement retires some effort and planning. We understand the changes that take place in our bodies as we get older. Our health declines, and our mobility becomes more limited as we age. Some people suffer from memory problems as well.

Keeping active, enjoying hobbies and other activities, and being proactive with your health will all help, but aging happens no matter what. Many people will require assistance from others with their daily living activities and supervision due to dementia. This assistance is long-term health care, and there are financial and family consequences when we need help in the future.

Your health insurance, including Medicare and supplements, will only pay for a limited amount of days for skilled long-term health care - basically rehab services. Sometimes skilled services will last forever, but health insurance and Medicare will only pay for a limited amount for these services.

But most long-term health care is custodial care - help with daily living activities or supervision due to dementia. Traditional health insurance and Medicare will not pay for this type of extended care. Medicaid will pay for all types of long-term health care, but only if you have limited or no income and assets. 

Long-Term Care Insurance is the solution. When you own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, you own a solution offering you access to your choice of quality care options, including in-home care services.

You cannot buy an LTC Insurance policy if you have multiple pre-existing health problems. You must have reasonably good health, but those requirements vary depending on the insurance company.

Most people obtain their coverage in their 50s when they can still take advantage of lower premiums and overall better health.

Seek Professional Help Planning for Long-Term Care

Experts recommend seeking the help of a qualified and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you find the right coverage. A specialist will match your age, health, and family history with the right coverage at the right price. 

Long-term care is a very specialized area, and few insurance agents and financial advisors have the expertise. Find a specialist who represents the top companies as premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies. Leading specialists will often have over 500 clients with Long-Term Care Insurance.

A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

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LTC NEWS has put in place several resources, including:

Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

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If your family is already in crisis and you need to find help for mom or dad, LTC NEWS can help. We have put together several comprehensive guides to help you in your process.

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If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea. 

Get Assistance in Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim

Many insurance companies have issued Long-Term Care Insurance policies over the years. Filing a claim can sometimes be complicated unless you know what to do or get expert help and assistance. 

Don't allow the claim process to stop you from using the benefits available in an LTC policy. Quality care obtained early will help provide a better quality of life and reduce the risk of a deep decline and facility care. 

If you need help in starting the process of a Long-Term Care Insurance claim, LTC NEWS can help. LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you or a loved one complete the claims process with a Long-Term Care Insurance policy. We have teamed up with Amada Senior Care, who will do all the work - free with no obligation. 

Get help finding quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News

Advantages of Reverse Mortgages 

Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance. You might be eligible at younger ages as well. 

Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, and even help with cash flow during your retirement. 

Learn more by asking questions to an expert. Mike Banner, LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages. 

- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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