12 Unique Hobbies That Are Unexpectedly Perfect for Seniors (2024)

12 Unique Hobbies That Are Unexpectedly Perfect for Seniors (1)

By:Elizabeth BemisonJuly 17th, 2020

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Many adults who are navigating the nuances of their golden years can experience a sense of loss in terms of engagement with activities that fill their days with purpose. What they may not be considering is that this stage in a person’s life is often the ideal time to take up a new hobby. From physical benefits to mental and emotional health advantages, engaging in an enjoyable hobby can offer seniors immense meaning and value.

As you acknowledge this reality and begin to think about what hobbies pique your interest as well as meet your individual needs, you might defer to senior staples like gardening, knitting and painting. And while these are certainly excellent choices if they suit your particular fancy, there are also some lesser-known options you may never have considered before.

To help you expand your horizons and get creative in the process of taking up a hobby at this extraordinary juncture in your life, here is a list of unique ideas. Have fun exploring!

1. Genealogy
Curious about your family tree? Interested in creating a record of your ancestry that can be passed down through the generations? Genealogy is becoming an increasingly popular hobby for seniors. With online knowledge-seeking services popping up in spades, there are ample opportunities for digging into your family history even if you might be limited by mobility barriers or long distances.

2. Photography

According to The National Institute on Aging, studies have found that older adults who learned a new hobby like digital photography had more memory improvement than those who only socialized or did less cognitively demanding activities. Does picking up a camera and learning how to see the world through the artistic lens of photography sound like an exciting and worthwhile hobby for you?

3. Winemaking

Are you a fan of fermented grape varietals? Well, you can drink to good health because research indicates that moderate red wine consumption may lead to decreased HDL levels, or the “good cholesterol.” Turn your love for this age-old beverage into a hobby by practicing the fine art of winemaking. With a few inexpensive pieces of equipment (and a lot of patience!), you can learn to become an at-home vintner.

4. Birdwatching

If you’re someone who finds great joy in appreciating nature’s special gifts, spending time with the birds could be just the thing for you. Check out some bird identification books, grab a pair of binoculars and head to the great outdoors for a close-up with this beautiful winged species. Consider starting a journal or scrapbook to track and log your avian adventures.

5. Second Language

Although many believe that seniors cannot learn foreign languages as successfully as younger adults or children, studies show that older adults do indeed have the capacity to learn a second language. In fact, bilingualism has been shown to positively affect the brain’s anatomy and play an important role in cognitive reserve, which may even help to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s. If you’re interested in a particular culture or part of the world, think about taking up the native language as an engaging hobby.

6. Musical Instrument

Research shows that music can boost mood, reduce stress and agitation, foster positive social interactions, coordinate motor function and facilitate cognition. Even in older adults who live with dementia or Alzheimer’s, the human brain naturally responds to music. Consider leveraging the healing power of music by learning to play a new instrument. It’s a hobby that can be enjoyed both alone and in the company of others.

12 Unique Hobbies That Are Unexpectedly Perfect for Seniors (2)7.Table Tennis

Think ping pong is just for the youth to enjoy? Think again. Table tennis, aside from being both competitive and fun, offers incredible benefits to seniors, including improvements in hand-eye coordination, manual dexterity, muscle strength and cardiovascular health. See if there’s a table tennis club in your area, or check out your community center for access to their equipment.

8. Scale Model Making

An insightful AARP article explains the benefits for seniors who make scale models as a fun hobby. “Not only does the activity provide much-needed leisure, which is beneficial in alleviating anxiety and depression, but it also enhances certain cognitive skills such as concentration, visual-motor skills, and executive functions,” says Dr. Andrea M. Macari, assistant professor of psychology at Suffolk County Community College. She explains that the skills used in scale modeling are the same ones that often decline with age. “So by practicing scale modeling, your actions are mitigating any decline of those skills.”

9. Astronomy

Are you a stargazer at heart? Awed by the magnitude and magnificence of outer space? With a decent telescope and some helpful astronomy literature, you can immerse yourself in the world of stars, planets, nebulae, galaxies and lunar or celestial bodies. There’s a rich history to be discovered in this hobby, with myths and legends attached to the various constellations.

10. Ballroom Dancing

According to Dr. Natacha Falcon, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician with Rothman Institute Orthopaedics, ballroom dancing offers real health benefits to older adults. “One of the recommendations to decrease osteoporosis and strengthen your bones is weight-bearing exercise,” she says. “So ballroom dancing definitely comes into play there.” There’s also the emphasis on posture and positive cardiovascular effects. For many seniors, ballroom dance is an invigorating hobby.

11. Theater or Choir

While exploring any form of art is a great activity for aging seniors, the performing arts are particularly beneficial for boosting self-esteem, confidence and independence. Many choral groups are open to the public and welcome people of all ages and abilities. Another potential outlet is community theater, where seniors can play a variety of important roles both on and off the stage. Opportunities include everything from lead characters and ensemble parts to backstage and front-of-house duties, such as selling tickets or helping out with costumes.

12. Calligraphy

The elegant art of calligraphy and hand-lettering can be a creative and relaxing hobby for seniors. If you think you’d like to try your hand at it, check out some online tutorials. There are even beginner worksheets you can download. Remember, practice makes perfect!

Ultimately, finding an enjoyable hobby is an important way to stay engaged in life and connected with others. To identify the activity that best meets your interests and abilities, consider making a comprehensive list of past and "bucket list" hobbies. Home improvement stores, craft shops, community centers and libraries are great places to find resources and classes. Some senior living communities also offer these types of programs on a regular basis.

For additional tips on senior health and lifestyle issues, check out our blog. If you’re interested in learning more about United Methodist Homes senior living community, contact us today.

12 Unique Hobbies That Are Unexpectedly Perfect for Seniors (3)

About Elizabeth Bemis

In 1998, I drove past an assisted living community construction site, learned that it was part of United Methodist Homes and realized the next stop on my professional journey was to work for a mission driven organization. Soon after, I joined the team as Executive Director of our Middlewoods of Farmington community and later served as Regional Manager for the Middlewoods properties before accepting my current role as Vice President of Marketing, Promotions, and Assisted Living Operations. I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, reading, walking, and love working alongside our staff, residents, and families to build strong communities that reflect the mission, vision, and values of United Methodist Homes.

12 Unique Hobbies That Are Unexpectedly Perfect for Seniors (2024)


What are indoor hobbies for elderly people? ›

Reading, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, playing musical instruments, drawing or painting, gardening (light activities), knitting or crocheting, writing, playing board games or card games, learning new languages, and doing crafts are a few good hobbies for elderly people who want to maintain their mental sharpness without ...

What is a hobby for a 65 year old man? ›

Hobby ideas, those such as cooking and gardening can help boost the morale of older people, by giving them a sense of achievement and pride. Reading books and playing video games help to keep the brain active, therefore reducing the risk of dementia. Of course, these are also fun activities for old people.

What is the most rare hobby? ›

Six of the most unusual hobbies
  • Ant farming. If you've never heard of a formicarium, you're probably not alone. ...
  • Extreme ironing. Extreme ironing really is a thing, as this extreme ironing video reveals. ...
  • Bubble football. ...
  • Cheese rolling. ...
  • Geocaching. ...
  • Drain cover spotting.

What do seniors need the most? ›

Eight Needs of the Elderly
  • Family Support.
  • Home Safety.
  • Medical Needs.
  • Cognitive Health.
  • Mobility.
  • Personal Hygiene.
  • Meal Preparation.
  • Social Interaction.

What are typical activities for older people? ›

Go out and get moving
  • Garden (indoors or out) or do yard work.
  • Take an exercise class or do exercises at home.
  • Go dancing.
  • Join a sports club for older adults, like a bowling club or bocce league.
  • Walk or bicycle with a friend or neighbor.
  • Take a swimming class.
  • Play with your grandchildren.
Mar 28, 2022

What are mechanical hobbies for seniors? ›

Mechanical Hobbies for Seniors
  • Fixing Up an Old Vehicle. For many who spent their lives working with mechanics, fixing up an old vehicle may seem like just a continuation of your old job, but the beauty is you're doing this on your schedule in the way that you want. ...
  • Making a Computer. ...
  • Making Homemade Beer or Wine.
Sep 23, 2021

What is the most loved hobby? ›

When it comes to the most popular hobbies in the United States, cooking & baking tops the ranking. Around 42 percent of the U.S. consumers share this viewpoint in our survey, followed by another 37 percent of the respondents who like to read.

What hobbies to do when you retire? ›

Retirement Hobbies on a Budget
  • Gardening.
  • Book clubs.
  • Bicycling.
  • Playing an instrument.
  • Teaching English as a second language online.
  • Podcasting.
  • Cooking/baking.

What should a 70 year old man do? ›

You can't turn back the clock, but there are a lot of ways to stay healthy in your 70s. Diet and exercise are important. Monitor your health, especially when it comes to watching for problems like cancer and heart disease. Stay active socially, and challenge yourself mentally -- they will help fight mental decline.

What hobby do you think is vastly underrated? ›

One underrated hobby that can be both satisfying and challenging is woodworking. Woodworking involves shaping and creating objects out of wood, and can include activities such as carpentry, furniture making, and carving.

How do I find a hobby if I have none? ›

Here are three ways to spark your curiosity:
  1. Pay attention to the moments in your day that relax you. A hobby doesn't need to be your biggest passion. ...
  2. Join a friend. ...
  3. Try a hobby related to your work.
Nov 7, 2023

Which is the least popular hobby? ›

The 20 least common hobbies:
  • Trainspotting.
  • Quilting.
  • Astrology.
  • Scrapbooking.
  • Home brewing.
  • Squash.
  • Mechanics.
  • Astronomy.
Jun 5, 2018

How do you entertain an 80 year old? ›

  1. Play Games. Despite not being as young as they used to be, elderly people still love to indulge their inner child by playing games. ...
  2. Spend Time With Family and Friends. ...
  3. Exercise. ...
  4. Gardening. ...
  5. Art Classes. ...
  6. Day Trips. ...
  7. Live Music. ...
  8. Spa Days.

What do the elderly want? ›

Elderly individuals have a basic need to remain connected to family members, friends and like minded seniors. This is psychologically beneficial because connections can lower rates of depression and loneliness.

What do elderly people need less of? ›

But as you tend to lose muscle mass, and activity levels tend to drop with age, kilojoules also need to reduce. This doesn't mean you need fewer nutrients. In fact, your need for nutrients (carbohydrates, fat, protein, vitamins, minerals, fibre, water, etc.) will remain roughly the same, if not go up.

How do I keep my 80 year old busy? ›

Some examples of hobbies for seniors over 80 are knitting, crocheting, scrapbooking, gardening, playing an instrument, reading, writing, painting, drawing and photography1 2 . Games and Puzzles: Games and puzzles are fun and stimulating activities that can challenge the mind and improve memory, con.

How do I keep my 90 year old busy? ›

Aiming to keep them mentally and physically active offering support and advice groups, board games, singing groups, craft work, reading groups, quizzes and ICT support. Along with sport and social activities including skittles, table tennis and bean bag bulls eye.

How to pass time in old age? ›

Top 15 Hobby Ideas for Older People
  1. Sports. As we've already mentioned, it's especially important for older people to stay physically active. ...
  2. Fitness Activities. Sports might not be your cup of tea, but that's alright. ...
  3. Gardening. ...
  4. Gaming. ...
  5. Social Media. ...
  6. Cooking. ...
  7. Jigsaw Puzzles. ...
  8. Reading.
Jan 5, 2024

How do I find a hobby at 65? ›

Try One of These Hobby Ideas for Seniors
  1. Learn a new language. ...
  2. Play a musical instrument. ...
  3. Tend a garden. ...
  4. Practice yoga. ...
  5. Volunteer your time. ...
  6. Join a club. ...
  7. Find your fit. ...
  8. Hit the road.


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