No matter how old we are, we all love to have fun, and elderly people are no exception. Particularly sharing with others enjoyable activities, having a good laugh and boosting the energy can be a superb way to stay active in life. A list of leisure activities for elderly might help in achieving this.
What Exactly Is Considered to Be Leisure Activity
McMillan Dictionary offers a definition of leisure activities: “activities that you do to relax or enjoy yourself”
Merriam-Webster says: “freedom provided by the cessation of activities; especially : time free from work or duties, while Britannica says: leisure is uncoerced, contextually framed activity engaged in during free time, which people want to do and, using their abilities and resources, actually do in a satisfying or a fulfilling way (or both)”
Josef Pieper (1965) in the publication: “Leisure- The Basis of Culture” explains how leisure, in first place is a mental and spiritual attitude of the non-activity of the person, of an inside calmness; it means not being busy, but letting things happen, and it can not be viewed as a plain result of spare time.
According to these, the highlight of leisure is an un-obligated time fueled by the person’s optimistic view on spending it.
Why Is It Good for You?
Wikipedia says: “Older adults, specifically, can benefit from physical, social, emotional, cultural, and spiritual aspects of leisure. Leisure engagement and relationships are commonly central to “successful” and satisfying aging”
Scientists Rowe and Kahn, in their highly popular at the time book Successful Aging, in 1987, described this term as
-being free of disability or disease,
-having high cognitive and physical abilities, and
-interacting with others in meaningful ways.
Can we agree with this description 33 years later? I think so. We would all want not to have any diseases or disabilities when we get older, and would also like to have a well-functioning brain as well. The need of being accepted as a part of society and have a role in it is an important part of aging, too.
We do have more needs to be fulfilled as we age, whether we are aware of them or not, but the lack of any can have a negative impact on either our physical or mental well-being:
-have regularity in our lives
-be adequately stimulated, mentally and intellectually
-purposefully and satisfactorily spend the newly freed time
-spending time with family
-be considered socially useful
-have a successful social life, be welcome in various social circles
-have possibilities to express ourselves, achieve self-realisation
-be able to gain spiritual satisfaction
-keep fit and well-cared for
Recreation as a Leisure Activity
Recreation is one way of spending some leisure time for those who view it as a satisfactory activity. Others will experience it as a forced upon them, a have to do thing, but it is important that we stick to it, especially as we age. Group recreation is not only increasing health and our fitness, but is also an opportunity for meeting people, socializing, implementing talents or skills acquired through lifetime. It can also be a wonderful opportunity to learn from others.
-If you used to play basketball in your younger days, tennis or soccer, why not seek for a senior team nearby and join them? It will be a very good physical activity for you, if your physical health permits it. If your doctor does not agree, you can still come and enjoy their game
-think of yoga, tai chi to combine pleasure with benefits for your balance, as physical as mental
-walking is one of the best, low impact activities, and also the most affordable, as you need nothing but a pair of comfortable shoes. You can go solo, or you can team up with someone for a regular walk, daily, or at least three times a week
There are also walking communities in almost any area, as UK, as USA and probably in other countries, as well. Look them up and join, if you can. You’ll probably be able to choose between short, easy routes and longer, more demanding ones. Anyhow, you can make new friends and get yourself out of possible isolation and loneliness, lose weight if you need to and share good laughs.
-go for cycling, through some nice landscape. Visit the nearby village, if you are fit enough. Or train to become such
-bird watching can be a quite enjoyable leisure activity, either alone, either organized, with a group. You can enjoy it from your window or at local or remote nature reserves, with or without binoculars. If you get a bird watching book like this one, you’ll even be able to recognize and differentiate one from another
-or you can engage in photography, targeting those same birds, or anything else you may run into or find interesting to capture
-you might be fond of spending your leisure time with gardening, or want to learn how to do it
-join a bowling or a cricket club near you. Many are continuously welcoming new members, regardless of the age
-play golf-though you might want to replace your normal clubs with those specifically designed for seniors
-play badminton-it is easy to set up the playground, as you only need a few yards of lawn, which you may have in your own backyard. Even if you have to go somewhere to find a good place, the rackets and the shuttlecocks are lightweight, easy to carry
-go for a picnic to a park or the woods, in good company and enjoy connecting with nature in a comfortable, laid back way
-become a tourist, in your own country, or even in your own town, own surrounding. I bet there are so many things in your own town that are worth of visiting, and you haven’t seen them yet. A small church you are passing by sometimes-do you know it’s history? Research it and then go visit it. It is so much more fun when you know what to look at
-go for shorter or longer travels, depending on what you can afford. Don’t forget to take a ton of photos, so you can go through them and remember later
Indoor Fun Senior Activities
-Watching TV is the most common leisure activity. It can give someone a sense of being in company, having someone around, hearing other voices, especially people who live alone. And though it may provide an escape from everyday worries and boredom, if it is all you do in your free time, day in and day out, you are missing a lot, let alone your health may deteriorate with such a sedentary lifestyle
-play table tennis, if you prefer an indoor physical activity. You’ll need a table, however, and the net with rackets. And, when the balls are not good to play with any more, you can turn them into scary eyeballs for your grand children’s Halloween party, or into Christmas lights 😉
-consider snooker, even if you are a woman. Snooker is generally considered to be more men’s game, but there are many excellent women players, as well. It is good not only as an enjoyable physical activity, it requires a strategic approach, so it also trains your brain. When you win, it also gives you a feeling of accomplishment
-if you have a public pool in your town, make a habit of going for a swim once or twice a week. It is the lowest impact, yet effective aerobic exercise you can enjoy even at a very old age and with somewhat limited mobility, as well. If you have joint problems, this is an excellent way to exercise without putting additional pressure on your joints
-if you dance, find a local club where you can renew the joy of moving to rhythm. If you don’t, there’s a good opportunity to learn something new and certainly enjoyable. Many dance clubs will even provide a few free lessons, so you can decide whether it is the right occupation for you or not. Not to mention you’ll meet there others and maybe make some new friends
-perhaps you are more inclined towards creative leisure activities, like drawing, painting, sculpting, creating scrap books or mosaics, origami, sewing or crocheting, woodcarving…Artistic activities give you fun, new discovery and delight, spark and fuel the imagination
-reading a book might be your ideal of leisure time. It can take you to exciting new worlds, a complete escape from your present thoughts and a great satisfaction
-even learning something from books is an excellent leisure time, provided you enjoy the subject you are learning about
No, not really, but… There is a ton of reasons that you think can stop you from including leisure to your everyday life: lack of motivation or will, feeling of helplessness, not easy to organize transport (when someone stops driving), no company if being lonely, thinking you have no free time, health problems, little or no financial resources, and many, many more… While any of these can confine you as a senior to enjoy the leisure time, and you need to take them into consideration, you should never use it as an excuse not to fully enjoy your free time. Always try to use your resources the best you can to engage in something entertaining and relaxing for you.
Also, do not believe the stereotypes of some activities be out of reach, just because they are “not for older people”
Who is responsible for your time and your state of mind, health? You, only.
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing”- George Bernard Shaw
It’s never too late for you to have fun while staying fit. So shape up. Be the coolest elderly you can. Enjoy life and live well.
Use the list and keep adding to it, there’s so much more that you can fill your free time with. The key ingredient is your attitude. If you find leisure satisfying and uplifting, you’ll find or create opportunities for it. If you don’t, you won’t. It’s that simple.
I hope you will decide in favor of leisure and give your life another dimension-of pure fun.
I’d like to hear what else would you add to this list, or what do you do for fun, as leisure? Any suggestions?
And, as always, feel free to reach out should you have questions and I’ll be happy to answer to the best of my knowledge.
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