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Activities for the elderly that aren’t boring

As we get a little older, our bodies can get weaker. But that doesn’t mean that it’s time to give up on activities. Or worse yet, take up hobbies that have never held an interest because “that’s what older people do”. There are plenty of activities for the elderly that aren’t boring that you can get involved in.

Keeping both your body and mind active is important post retirement. It’s easy to slip into bad habits. Time can feel stretched, particularly if you live alone. Keeping an active mind and body can help you to maintain independence and keep you generally healthy.

Perhaps you are caring for a loved one and want to find an activity which will help to keep them active? But are not sure where to start.

We uncover some of the best activities designed to keep both body and mind in shape.

Activities to keep your brain sharp as you get older

Staying mentally fit helps to keep your brain’s neural pathways balanced.

Cognitive ageing is the decline in cognitive processing that occurs as people get older. Age-related impairments in reasoning, memory and processing speed can arise during adulthood and progress into the elder years.

Our senses tend to dull over time, so keeping the brain as well as the body active is key to avoiding mental deterioration.

Even for those who suffer with dementia symptoms, certain mental exercises, designed to challenge thinking can help to them to stay more alert.

Here are some ideas to keep your brain active.

Puzzle games

While it’s unlikely that you’re going to take to The Times Cryptic Crossword if it’s never been part of your life, there are plenty of simple puzzle games that can help to keep your brain active.

Recently the rise of Wordle has reunited the world with the fun of a simple daily puzzle game. The idea is straightforward, you must guess the five-letter word in six goes or less. The game is only available to play once a day and is the ideal mental challenge to try out while drinking your morning cuppa, or just before bed.

Love a word game but want something that lasts a little longer? Try Words with Friends – a scrabble like game that you can play online against real friends, or online ones.

For those who are more numbers focused, Sudoku offers a great mental workout. It’s known to help improve concentration and memory.

Reading

Reading has been shown to improve brain connectivity, so is a great mental workout.

You can choose to stick with your favourite genres if that’s comforting, or if you are looking to expand your reading repertoire, you can find a plethora of reading challenges online. These are designed to expand your reading horizons by providing “prompts” for your books. This can be anything from “choose a book with a number in the title” to options for different genres. Look at some of the best reading challenges here.

If you’re finding reading become a little harder due to eyesight issues, there are a few options that won’t put strain on your eyes.

Audiobooks offer a great alternative to a physical book with one major benefit being that you can listen to an audiobook while going about other tasks – such as walking or even just undertaking general housework.

Another option is to use an e-reader such as a Kindle. This allows you to change the size of the print, helping to ease the strain on your eyes. Another benefit of an e-reader is that you have quick and easy access to purchase books online which download instantly.

Arts and crafts

Crafting has never been so “in vogue”, with entire shops such as Hobbycraft dedicated to allowing you to express yourself through art.

One of the great things about arts and crafts for seniors is that, depending on the activity, often it offers both a mental and physical benefit – as you are focusing on things like hand-eye co-ordination and keeping a steady hand. Many crafts are the ideal activity for someone who has limited mobility in their legs, as it allows you to do something with your hands instead.

Making art causes our brain to reshape and restructure itself which leads to increased cognitive function, so it’s a great activity to keep your mind sharp.

Learn a new language

Always fancied being able to converse when visiting another country? The good news is that experts have proven you’re never too old to learn another language. While it may be a little more challenging, Albert Costa, a professor of neuroscience in Barcelona’s Universität Pompeu Fabra, said in an interview with the Guardian those older individuals learning a new language have an advantage over their younger counterparts. This is mainly because older people are armed with larger vocabularies. As a result, they will learn more words that are included in the arsenal of a native speaker.

If you fancy picking up new language skills, you could choose to go for a traditional group class. The benefit of which is, of course, the opportunity to socialise while you speak. But if that’s not your cup of tea, there are a huge number of online resources for learning a new language.

Duolingo is one of the most popular apps which allows you to learn at your own pace.

Keeping active: Fun physical activities for seniors

Staying physically active can help to lower risk of heart diseases, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer.

If you’re looking to take up an exercise regime, take a look at our best exercises for senior’s blog, which is brimming with ideas.

But physical activity can go beyond traditional exercise, so here are some ideas without a gym in sight.

Keep dancing

Love a bit of Strictly? Why not get yourself involved with taking up the dance of your choice.

Dancing is considered one of the most therapeutic activities when it comes to keeping physically and mentally active. If you’re fairly sprightly, take up a dance class in your local area – there are a huge range of different types to choose from – so even if you feel that you have two left feet there’s likely to be a class that suits you.

And dance classes are not just for the able bodied. There are wheelchair dance classes available in several areas.

Feeling a little shyer? Get onto YouTube. There are a wealth of different dance classes available completely free online. Just be careful to keep a clear and uncluttered space. If you’re a little unsteady on your feet, or have brittle bones, it’s wise to wear a personal alarm just in case you risk a fall.

Walk with friends

If you are physically able, taking a leisurely walk is one of the best things you can do for your health.

But there’s no need to make it boring. You can often find local meetup groups as many will have varied walks – from a short walk around the park to something more challenging. Or look at Ramblers Wellbeing Walks which are short walks designed to be accessible to all.

Prefer flying solo? Why not add an extra dimension to your walks by borrowing a doggy companion? Or mix it up and take either a camera or your smart phone along and look to capture local sites or wildlife.

If you like to walk alone, consider the SureSafeGO Plus. This smart looking watch allows you to have both a pedometer and personal alarm in one. It also includes a fall detection feature. So, you can track your steps while being reassured of your safety when walking alone.

Get green fingered

Getting out in the garden offers a wealth of benefits for older people. As well as being a physical activity, you are also exposed to vitamin D which helps to promote bone health.

If you’ve not got access to your own garden space, there are often community gardening projects available in local areas.

If you are suffering from symptoms of arthritis, there can be a range of tools available that can make gardening easier for those with joint issues.

Whatever your preferences, choosing an activity that slots well into your life is key to keeping up the good habits, so pick something that you enjoy and will stick with.

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