It’s no secret that pursuing your passions—no matter what stage of life you’re in—can provide countless advantages. Benefits range from feeling a deeper sense of purpose and satisfaction in your life, to reducing stress and even improving overall well-being. As an older adult, these benefits are even more significant.
The Proof Behind Pursuing Your Passions
“By starting a new activity or developing a hobby that engages your mind, you will be able to live your later life to its fullest — while also maintaining a healthy brain,” says Diane Franklin with OurParents.com. For people with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, activities provide a meaningful link to the past and a way to connect with others, according to AARP.
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) reports, “People who engage in meaningful activities, like volunteering or hobbies, say they feel happier and healthier. Learning new skills may improve your thinking ability, too.” Another NIA study found that activities like quilting or digital photography led to more memory improvement for older adults compared to those who only socialized or did less cognitively demanding activities.
Keeping Fit With Activities
Even if your newfound hobby is more sedentary or low-key, there are still plenty of physical benefits. For example, knitting or sketching keeps your fingers limber and aids in your dexterity. Activities like walking help your heart and keep your legs strong. If you find that yoga or tai chi is your new passion, you’ll enjoy multiple physical benefits, including increased flexibility and range of motion.
Additionally, activities like dancing, yoga and tai chi, help improve your balance, which is imperative in deterring falls. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) report that over three million people visit the ER due to falls every year. Of those treated, over 800,000 end up hospitalized for broken bones or head trauma. Preventing falls is a crucial tool for keeping seniors healthy.
Promote Mental Wellness
In addition to improving cognitive issues, like memory, hobbies also play a big part in staving off loneliness and depression. Many hobbies can be done in group settings. Just being around other people, even if you’re simply sitting and crocheting, boosts your mood and allows you to connect.
Building relationships is an excellent side effect of pursuing a new passion. Friendships in later life are also vital to health and happiness, based reports from Michigan State University. In their recent study, more than 700,000 senior citizens ranked relationships with non-family members as the most important.
Focus on the Process
While creating something beautiful or hitting a goal in your physical fitness may be rewarding, don’t lose sight of the fact that the activity itself is a fulfilling experience. Jennifer Wegerer, writer for Alzheimers.net, shares, “Remember to concentrate on the process of an activity and not the results. What matters is that [you or] your loved one enjoys the time spent on it and feels useful.”
Pursuing Your Passions at Vineyard
At Vineyard, we offer programming, activities, and events thoughtfully designed for every interest. Our robust calendar allows residents and their guests to dabble in engaging and exciting activities. Whether you want to garden, learn how to dance, practice yoga or take cooking classes with renown chefs, we’ve got you covered!