Arthritis is one of the most common health conditions affecting older adults. Even mild arthritis can cause significant discomfort, stiffness, and loss of motion. If you have arthritis, you may feel frustrated with how the condition has affected your life. Not only is arthritis painful, but it can also prevent you from participating in your favorite hobbies.
Seniors with arthritis often struggle with motion in their hands, knees, and hips. Exercising and active hobbies may become more difficult when you have arthritis, and working with your hands may feel nearly impossible. You might feel lost or hopeless if arthritis is getting in the way of your life. However, it’s important for seniors with arthritis to remain active and find hobbies they enjoy. Staying active can prevent your arthritis symptoms from worsening and can improve your overall mental health.
While arthritis can make some activities more challenging, there are plenty of hobbies that seniors with arthritis can safely enjoy. Many activities can be modified for seniors with arthritis, too. You may be able to continue participating in your favorite hobbies by making some adjustments or investing in adaptive equipment.
Here Are 11 of the Best Hobbies for Seniors with Arthritis
Swimming is one of the best hobbies for seniors with arthritis because it allows you to stay active without putting any pressure or strain on your joints. All older adults should stay active as they age, but exercise is especially important for seniors with arthritis. Swimming works all of your muscles, and it can help to reduce your perception of pain. Many gyms and local pools offer senior swimming classes that are specifically targeted to those with arthritis or other joint issues. If you don’t like group fitness classes, swimming laps is always a great option.
Gentle, low-impact dancing is an excellent way to reduce arthritis pain while staying active. Many older adults believe that they can no longer dance and shouldn’t even bother trying. No one is too old to dance, though, and the physical and mental health benefits of dancing are particularly helpful for seniors with arthritis. As long as your doctor gives approval and you know your limitations, you should feel free to try out this hobby. Senior dance classes are a great place to socialize, too.
Yoga has so many physical and mental health benefits for older adults. The practice can reduce arthritis pain, improve flexibility, and help you feel more calm and centered. Some forms of yoga may not be appropriate or accessible for seniors with arthritis. Most yoga exercises can be adapted, though. For instance, you could do certain exercises from a chair instead of on the floor. Yoga instructors are usually happy to help their students find modifications that make the practice work for them. You could also search online for adaptive yoga instructional videos.
4. Lawn Games
Lawn games are a fun way to socialize with friends or family while also engaging in some friendly competition. For seniors with arthritis, lawn games may be a good alternative to higher-intensity sports. You still get to spend time outside and be active, but lawn games tend to be less stressful on the body. The following are some examples of lawn games that are great hobbies for seniors with arthritis:
- Bocce ball
- Lawn bowling
- Ladder toss
Painting is a relaxing and rewarding hobby for seniors who like artistic activities. Seniors with arthritis may struggle to paint with typical brushes, but you can instead use adaptive brushes with soft grips. These brushes are designed so that you can hold them without straining your hands. By keeping your hands moving with painting, you can reduce the stiffness and discomfort caused by your arthritis.
Older adults who like creative hobbies may also enjoy crafts like knitting, crocheting, jewelry making, scrapbooking, or quilting. There are practically endless styles of crafting that seniors will enjoy. Although many crafts require fine motor movement in your hands, you could use adaptive tools to ease the arthritis pain. Crafting keeps your hands moving and eases pain and stiffness while also reducing stress and anxiety.
Gardening is one of the greatest hobbies for both your physical and mental health. It gets you outside, encourages you to keep your hands moving, and provides a strong sense of accomplishment. Some gardening tasks, such as digging and weeding, can be tough on your joints. Seniors with arthritis may have to use adaptive equipment or enlist the help of a friend or family member for these tasks. However, it is possible to create and maintain a beautiful garden even if you have arthritis.
8. Cooking and Baking
Cooking and baking are rewarding hobbies with a strong social component. You could invite family and friends over for home-cooked meals or share baked goods with your loved ones. Dietary choices may play a role in arthritis symptoms, too, so cooking your own meals allows you to have more control over your condition. Like with many other hobbies, seniors with arthritis can use adaptive tools in the kitchen to reduce the stress on their hands. You can find a wide variety of gadgets that make tasks easier on your joints and help to prevent arthritis flare-ups.
9. Puzzles and Word Games
Jigsaw puzzles, word searches, crosswords, Sudoku, and other games can be a fun and safe way for older adults with arthritis to entertain themselves while alone. All types of puzzles can help you keep your mind sharp as you age. Seeing yourself get better and better at the puzzles over time can be exciting, too. You could keep a variety of word games and puzzles on hand so that you always have mentally stimulating activities available at home.
10. Stress Balls
Many arthritis sufferers find it difficult to use their hands. There may be stabbing pain. Some devices, like a Stress Ball, are created especially for people with arthritis. They strengthen the joints in your hand and lessen discomfort and inflammation when used frequently.
Reading is another relaxing and enriching way for you to enjoy your alone time. Books may be particularly comforting if you’re going through an arthritis flare-up and are struggling with movement or mobility. Reading can distract you from your pain and can help you maintain your cognitive health. Audiobooks are also a good alternative for seniors.
Arthritis may affect your lifestyle, but it doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying your favorite activities. There are plenty of hobbies for seniors with arthritis that can help you stay active and busy. Finding new interests or modifying your old favorite hobbies is a great way to maintain your physical and mental health as you age.
If your arthritis or other chronic conditions are taking a toll on your mental health, consider reaching out to a therapist. Counseling for seniors can help you come to terms with your diagnosis and develop positive coping skills. Blue Moon Senior Counseling provides therapy for seniors with arthritis and other chronic illnesses. Contact us today to learn more about how counseling for seniors can help.