Let’s be real: this summer is definitely different than those in the past.

“We’re ditching our masks and being more social, but many seniors may feel a little anxious about this change in social safety,” says Lynda Marino, Marketing Director at Canterbury Woods Gates Circle. “While getting back to ‘normal’ is an important part of seniors’ well-being and quality of life, there are also very real issues that can place roadblocks in seniors’ health and fulfillment.”

Many older adults are experiencing a loss of meaningful activities that fill their retirement years with purpose. While 2020–2021 has been a unique time period for seniors, it’s important to remember that picking up a new hobby can be just what older adults need in order to live their best lives moving forward.

“The retirement years are the perfect time in life to adopt a new hobby or pick up an old one that has fallen to the wayside,” says Lynda. “Activities are an excellent way for seniors to enjoy this stage of their lives, especially as we move into the summer months.”

Lynda encourages individuals to think about what hobbies and activities really pique your interest while also meeting your individual needs. This could be anything from knitting, painting, gardening or sculpting to attending classes, picking up pickleball or anything else that interests you.

“Having hobbies and new interests can help expand your worldview and horizons,” says Lynda. “As you or a loved one research what options are available and think about what hobbies might meet your interests, remember that this is a unique time in your life to experience everything your community has to offer.”

Here are just a few options of hobbies and activities that can get you or a loved one excited and interested this summer.

Genealogy

As we get older, it’s only natural to be curious about your family tree and what sort of history can be passed down through your generations. Thanks to the rise of online sites such as Ancestry.com and others, it’s become easier than ever to research your family history and get connected to relatives you might never have met otherwise.

Photography

The National Institute on Aging reports that older adults who pick up a new hobby – like photography – have better cognitive abilities, memory improvement and overall health than counterparts who do less social, learning opportunities. Thanks to the rise of digital photography, it’s become easier than ever for individuals to channel their inner Ansel Adams. At the very least, it can help seniors figure out how to best pose family members for future portraits.

Birdwatching

There’s something very soothing about watching our feathered friends as they interact at feeders and other natural spots. If enjoying nature is something that sparks your interest, this summer is a perfect time to grab some binoculars (and possibly your camera) to observe the winged wonders visiting your area. Consider checking out bird identification books from your local library, or starting a journey to log your viewings and adventures.

Second language

As we become more global citizens of the world, it’s more and more common for older adults to learn a second language. Although many believe you “can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” research has shown that older adults have a great capacity to learn another language. Learning a second language has been proven to help boost the brain’s functioning and improve/preserve cognitive abilities. So, not only are you learning something new – you’re also helping preserve the knowledge you’ve built over the years.

Musical instrument

Much like learning another language, research shows that learning how to play a musical instrument can help reduce stress, boost mood, improve social interactions, keep motor skills active and maintain cognitive functioning. Not only that – research has shown us that the brain responds to music in very unique ways. The part of the brain that stores music is not often affected by Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias … meaning that music can help retain cognitive abilities and communication channels. Plus, it’s also incredibly enjoyable.

Gardening

Gardening is an activity that is enjoyable for old and young alike, and has health benefits far beyond the immediate, according to research. Gardening stimulates all the senses – touch, taste, smell, sound, hearing – making it an excellent activity for those with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of cognitive decline. It’s also a great form of exercise, combining resistance, strength-building and aerobic activity to be a full-body, holistic workout. Plus, you get the benefit of enjoying flowers, fruits or vegetables thanks to your efforts!

Baking

Of course, what is more enjoyable than creating masterpieces that are tantalizing to the tongue as well as gorgeous? As we start to gather more often and bring friends and family together, learning how to create delicious dishes for large groups can be both entertaining and beneficial for seniors. If this sounds interesting to you, consider signing up for cooking classes at your local community session or simply search YouTube for instructional videos that interest you. Remember, practice makes perfect!

“Here’s the thing: you’re only limited by your imagination,” says Lynda. “We have entered a brave new world where interests intersect with a new level of security and safety. As mask mandates become more relaxed and we are more comfortable moving in and connecting with others in the community, seniors will need to rely on their own personal comfort level to find hobbies that are enjoyable, allow them to stay engaged in life and help them connect with others.”

Ultimately, says Lynda, the most unique and enjoyable hobby is one that piques your individual interest. “There’s no one-size-fits-all for staying engaged, and fortunately, thanks to the Internet and other technological advances, it’s easier than ever to find activities and hobbies that you enjoy,” she says. “Take some time this summer to research options, try new things and figure out what truly interests you. You may be surprised!”

Continuum of Care

As a Life Care Community, Canterbury Woods Communities provide a comfortable environment and first-rate services to support every level of need. Assisted living apartments allow Gates Circle residents to benefit from additional support while maintaining their independent lifestyle, but if additional support is not needed, independent living is also offered at our Life Care Community. If skilled nursing, rehabilitation or memory care is ever needed, residents can experience the support they require at our sister community in Williamsville.

Contact us today to discover more about Canterbury Woods Gates Circle! ​(716) 427-6678