Your golden years are no time to be sitting on your hands, looking at the buses going by, like a bump on a log.
The formula for happiness is simple – stay connected to family, friends and community, get healthy, have fun and laugh tons. The following activities for seniors will give senior every opportunity to do just that, no matter the age. Enjoy!
1. Visit museums regularly to keep learning
Most cities have some great great art, history or cultural museums on hand. Make monthly visits to the museum.
You don’t have to wait for the special exhibits to enjoy what’s on display. Consider getting headsets or a walking tour to challenge yourself to learn more about what’s on display. Understanding the context for each piece will help you enjoy and appreciate each piece that much more!
2. Take art classes to keep your brain sharp
Creating is one of the best ways to keep your mind active. Whether you’re painting, drawing, taking photographs or doing pottery, art is fun, challenging and stimulating.
Studies have shown that doing art helps older adults reduce anxiety and depression while creating new neural pathways and thicker, stronger dentrites – helping the brain to adapt, reshape and restructure!
3. Go to current event classes and feel fulfilled
Politics isn’t for everyone but staying on top of current events and having the chance to learn the context for some of the world’s challenges and opportunities, ask questions and participate in classroom discussions can be exhilarating.
It can also help you become an active participant in our democracy and make your vote more meaningful.
4. Try Mahjong and train your brain
Mahjong has exploded from its original roots in China. Played with four players, it’s social, strategic and fun. Plus learning how to play a new game will put your mind in overdrive.
5. Play cards to keep your mind challenged
Whether you’re playing poker, bridge, canasta, rummy or crazy eights there’s a card game for every level of play. Best of all cards are a great way to get social and keep your mind challenged – two ingredients that will help keep you sharp and happy!
6. Visit the library and read more books
Whether you like chicklit, thrillers, murder mysteries or high-brow literature, reading is fun and does wonders for the brain.It enhances memory, sharpens decision making skills, delays Alzheimer’s and reduces stress.
Take trips to the library to make reading economical and join book clubs if you want to make it a social activity as well!
7. Take walks to stay healthy
If staying mobile, independent and healthy is a goal of yours as you age, start walking! According to Harvard research, walking also has some other surprising benefits like reducing the effects of weight promoting genes, taming your sweet tooth, eases joint pain and boosts your immune function.
If the heat is too much for you in the summer, go for a walk in the mall. You can also go for a walk in the mall during the winter to avoid the cold and ice.
8. Exercise to keep your body strong and flexible
Exercising doesn’t have to be a chore. Choose exercises that you enjoy doing and that help your strength, balance, cardio and flexibility. Do it in a way that will keep you interested, whether it be at home, in a class, a gym or with a personal trainer.
9. Do sports to stay in shape
If doing exercises isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other ways to stay in shape. Plenty of older adults continue doing challenging physical activities well into their 70’s, like mountain biking, skiing and tennis. If you’re looking for a sport that’s less demanding on your joints, try swimming, golf or biking.
10. Go dancing to get social and stay flexible
Dancing is fun, social, physically and mentally demanding. Recent research has shown dancing to be one of the best activities to improve strength, balance and reverse the signs of an aging brain! This is especially true if you challenge yourself to learn new dances on a frequent basis.
11. Try tea socials and make new friends
You may not be up to hosting large dinner parties anymore, but why not invite friends over for tea, deserts and good conversation on a regular basis. Maintaining friendships and a strong social network is one of the keys to happiness. Discovering new deserts will also be a delicious treat!
12. Play board games and challenge your brain
Nothing gets the juices flowing like competition. Board games are a great way to challenge your mind while having fun and getting social. The great thing about board games is that you can always find someone to match your level of play.
Think chess, backgammon, checkers, Scrabble, Boggle, Rummikub, Trivial Pursuit.
13. Do gardening and enjoy the process
You can make gardening as challenging or as simple as you’d like. From a full blown perennial, annual or vegetable garden to a few potted plants.
Selecting, planting, weeding, feeding, harvesting and enjoying the fruits of your labor can bring endless joy. Nothing brings more pride than making a salad from your own garden, adding a few herbs from the window sill or cutting fresh flowers and adding them to your table.
14. Volunteer to contribute to your community
Just because you’re not working doesn’t mean you have to stop contributing. Volunteering can help you develop new relationships, feel connected to community and fee the reward and joy that comes from giving back.
No matter your age, you can help by doing things like reading to young children, being a greeter at a hospital, helping organize fundraisers and more.
15. Have fun with your grandchildren
Nothing will bring you more joy and keep you younger than youth itself. Taking care of your grandchildren can truly be a labor of love, not to mention a huge help to your kids.
You can have your grandkids sleepover every Friday or Saturday night, take them out for brunch on Sunday mornings, take them to activities and more. Getting involved in their activities or just showing up will be fun for you and mean the world to them.
16. Play word and number games to entertain yourself
Crossword, sudoku, kenken and jumble are fun games to challenge yourself with. Some research suggests it can sharpen your focus, improve your memory and help you relax but no matter what, if you like it, it will entertain you and keep your mind active.
17. Keep working for what you love
Many people assume that once you reach a certain age you have to retire. There are plenty of examples of people who work well into their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s at a very high level because they love what they do and it keep them fresh, engaged and purposeful.
If you love what you do, it’s a gift, not a job.
18. Keep pets and share your love and joy
Pets are proven to help seniors feel better and improve their physical health. Nothing makes people feel better than loving and being loved; and pets can do that in spades.
Pets can give seniors a sense of purpose and companionship, as well as force them to be active by taking dogs for walks and open up a whole new social life by interacting with other dog owners.
19. Get involved in social activism and stay passionate
We usually leave it to younger adults to get socially engaged and change the world. The truth is, seniors also have the time to get involved. Moreover, the wisdom and perspective that comes with age can be the perfect partner to the enthusiasm and energy that comes with youth.
Take the time to get engaged politically and socially. Make it a habit to write to your local newspaper, comment on articles, engage with your government representatives, show up to town hall and council meetings. You can make a difference.
Stay active and you’ll always be happy!
Don’t waste any time! Get cracking and start spending time with family and friends. You’ll be happier for it.
To top it off, get active and stay in shape, you’ll feel great and be a lot healthier too!
Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com
|||^||Today’s Geriatric Medicine: Aging: What’s Art Got To Do With It?|
|||^||Harvard Health Publishing: 5 surprising benefits of walking|
|||^||Science Daily: Dancing can reverse the signs of aging in the brain|
|||^||The Harvard Gazette: Good genes are nice, but joy is better|
|||^||The Guardian: Not the retiring type: meet the people still working in their 70s, 80s and 90s|