Winter Hobbies for Seniors: How to Keep Your Mind Sharp this Season

Jan 9, 2018
Senior man and woman enjoying skiing

It’s easy to get bored in the winter. With snow on the ground and a chill in the air, you can’t get out much – and it might start to feel like your home is a prison.

How many TV shows can you watch in a day? How many hours can you spend napping?

Though your days of walking the dog, playing golf or just sitting on the patio with friends are over (at least for a few months), that doesn’t have to mean resigning yourself to boring, stagnant or repetitive activities.

There are plenty of ways to stay active, remain social and keep your mind sharp – even when winter weather’s reared its ugly head.

Get Artsy

What’s more beautiful than a snow-covered landscape? Use your winter surroundings as inspiration for art. Try your hand at watercolor painting or drawing, or you could even enroll in a class at a local senior or community center. Not sure you want to free-hand it just yet? Pick up a few adult coloring books (they’re a big trend nowadays!)

Feel the Music

Use the winter months to get in touch with your musical side. Dig that old record player and LP collection out of storage, and start breaking out the classics. Invite friends over for some dancing and dinner, or order a few new records to expand your horizons. Vinyl is back in a big a way with today’s youth, so there are plenty of places to buy from (even Amazon has options!)

If you have a community center or dance studio near you, consider enrolling in a few classes to brush up on your skills. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, try out a dance style you’ve never done before. Maybe polka? Swing? Salsa? Dancing can boost your mood and help keep you in shape with the weather turns cold.

Get Cooking

Have access to a full kitchen? Try to perfect a few new recipes this season. Maybe ace that soufflé you’ve never gotten quite right, or try a new stew that a friend recommended. Get in the kitchen and be creative. Then, invite a few friends over to try it out. You can even make it a potluck and encourage your guests to do some cooking, too. Just make sure to cover all your basics – appetizers, sides, main course and dessert.

Take Up Indoor Gardening

Have a green thumb, but can’t tend to your garden in the cold winter months? Try indoor gardening instead. Grow herbs and vegetables that you can use while cooking, or try indoor potted plants, like flowers, ferns or even small trees. Bonsai trees are also a great way to use that green thumb while keeping your mind and concentration sharp.

Build Something

You might not be able to go out and build a house in this weather, but you can certainly build smaller items indoors. Try your hand at model cars, airplanes or trains, or consider building a ship in a bottle. Both can improve your hand-eye coordination and keep your fingers nimble and agile.

You can also consider building something for a loved one. Have a grandson learning to potty train? Create a handy step stool to help. Want to give your granddaughter somewhere to play at your house? Try creating a small playhouse or slide for her to enjoy.

Revel in Memories

Scrapbooking is a great way to keep busy while also ensuring your memory stays sharp and detailed. Use the winter months to create memory books for different times in your life. Make one for your daughter’s wedding, one for your grandchild’s last birthday or one for your spouse. Use websites like Shutterfly or Snapfish to print out photos cheaply and easily, and head to a local craft store for scrapbook paper, stamps, stickers and other materials you might need.

Join a Book Club

Love reading, but tired of never having someone to share your favorite story lines with? Join a local book club. Not only do they give you a constant stream of top-notch reading material, but they also ensure you have a sounding board for those itching questions once the last page is turned. Look to your local library or community center for book club options; they may even have one just for seniors.

Try Low-impact Activities

Yoga and tai chi are both low-impact, relaxing ways to stay in shape during the wintertime. They’re also known to help center your mind, reduce stress and keep your mood high, even when the sun’s not shining. Other low-impact activities include the stationary bike, swimming, water aerobics or walking (on a treadmill.)

Start a Game Night

Enlist your friends for a weekly game night, and rotate which house you play at each week, so the burden’s not too big on any one participant. Consider card games like Hearts, Gin Rummy or Crazy Eights, or try a classic board game like Monopoly or Scrabble.

If games aren’t your thing, why not try a weekly movie night instead? You can pull out a classic that your social circle all loves, or you can rent the latest blockbuster from Redbox or Google Play. Just make sure to have the popcorn on hand!

Check Out Local Culture

The winter’s the perfect time to check out your town’s local cultural spots. Head to any nearby art, science or history museums, or see a local theater or choral show. There tend to be lots of musical performances around the holidays, so keep an eye out for those in particular. You can even see if there are children’s theater groups, or try a local high school for performances throughout the year.

Stay Active at Ganton’s

At Ganton’s we help our residents stay active all year-round. Want a full social calendar and plenty of entertainment this winter? Come see what we have to offer. Contact us today to tour our facilities today.

For information about Countryside, call Margaret Nagel at (517) 206-5000 or download our brochure to learn about our care levels, cost, and amenities.
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