If you’re like many older adults, life was all hustle and bustle for decades. Work, family, and other responsibilities kept you busy. But now, you have the opportunity to choose pastimes that interest you. These activities are fun, and they’re good for you, too. Experts say doing community-oriented creative, social, physical, and activities can significantly increase well-being in later life. For example, these activities can help you:
- Stay independent longer
- Set goals and feel a sense of accomplishment
- Connect with others
- Maintain fitness/motor skills
- Minimize depression and loneliness
Luckily, there is a wide variety of rewarding hobbies, experiences, and activities available in most areas.
What sounds like fun to you?
There are so many enticing opportunities, it might be hard to pick which ones to do. The important thing is to just get started and give something a try. You can always change direction or add new activities later. Here are a few ideas:
- Volunteer: Want to make a difference? Contact your area schools or favorite charities. You can also visit websites that match you with volunteer opportunities, such as AmeriCorps Seniors, DoSomething, or VolunteerMatch.
- Enjoy the arts: Whether you want to make art or simply appreciate it, the arts can inspire you. Whether you like visual art, crafts, theater, dance, or music, there’s something for everyone. You can take classes, visit galleries, go to concerts, or get together with a craft/maker group.
- Learn new things: Learning is good for your brain and your soul. Lectures, travel, language courses, museum tours, and hands-on training can be inspiring. Contact local community education resources, neighborhood colleges, or museums. You can also show off your new knowledge by becoming a docent or volunteer with an organization you enjoy.
- Join a club or meetup: Whether you’re seeking a book club, walking club, coffee club, or game night, group activities help you feel connected. Find a regular group that shares your interests (or at least shares your sense of fun). Can’t find anything you like? Start your own group.
- Stay active: From line dancing and water aerobics to hiking to dog walking—exercise is important. Community centers, gyms, and YMCAs often have exercise classes tailored to older adults. You can meet new people and stay fit at the same time.
How to find activities in your community
Is there a hobby you’ve always wanted to try or maybe a skill you’d like to learn? Or, maybe, you’re open to suggestions. Either way, the best way to get started is to do a little research:
- Look online. A simple Google search including your geographic location (e.g., “Painting classes in Madison County”) can provide a lot of ideas.
- Ask your friends and neighbors for recommendations on activities they enjoy. They can provide a warm introduction, accompany you, or be an accountability partner to help you get started.
- Check out bulletin boards in libraries, coffee shops, city hall, or grocery stores. Find out if your city or county has an online events calendar, too.
- Read local newspapers or magazines to see what’s going on in your area.
It’s never too late to expand your horizons
Now is a great time to indulge your interests and do things you truly enjoy. While you can do many of the activities shared above by yourself or online, getting out and sharing activities with others helps you stay healthy, active, and connected to others. So, get out there and find something you enjoy. Fun is good for you!