10 Hobbies For Elderly With Arthritis

The pain of arthritis can feel like all the joy is being taken from your life. But there are many fun activities you can do – even with arthritic joints. Here are some ideas of fun hobbies for elderly people with arthritis.


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seniors with arthritis doing gardening as a hobby

If you are a senior who’s suffering from arthritis, you should know that you are not alone. The Arthritis Foundation estimates that about 54 million people in the United States suffer from the joint pain and joint disease called arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form off arthritis that typically affects older adults and is caused by the wearing down of cartilage between joints over time. If osteoarthritis increases in severity, it may affect mobility and make it painful to engage in activities that you previously enjoyed.

Fortunately, it isn’t all doom and gloom since there are some arthritis-friendly activities that help ease the joint pain and stiffness associated with the condition. Certain hobbies can even be physically and emotionally therapeutic for arthritis sufferers.

10 Activities for Seniors with Arthritis

Here are 10 Activities that can be particularly beneficial for anyone suffering from arthritis:

Gardening

Gardening is a low-impact activity that people of all ages can enjoy. Planting, tending to plants, and watering are all relaxing and meditative activities, which is why they are just perfect for any senior that’s dealing with arthritis.

The great thing about gardening is that it can be adapted for those with arthritis through the use of joint-friendly gardening tools for seniors that have massive handles, gloves that have grips, or even special cushions that can be used for kneeling.

If you find it difficult to bend down to tend to plants or pull weeds, you may consider bringing them to you. You can raise flower beds to reduce the pain associated with kneeling while plants such as succulents or herbs make easy tabletop container gardens.

Dancing

Were you a great dancer like the late Michael Jackson back in your day? If you were, then you should try out dancing. It is yet another low-impact activity that offers lots of significant social and health benefits, particularly for older adults.

Dancing is not only an excellent way to improve strength, balance, and flexibility, but also a fun social activity that positively impacts the mental and emotional health of seniors. Studies reveal that the challenge of learning new dance moves helps improve cognitive function in seniors and may actually lower the risk of developing dementia.

Yoga

You are probably looking at this and saying that there’s no way yoga is featured on a list of activities for older folks. However, the truth is that yoga is relatively-low impact that can help you become more aware of your body experience and keep moving to warm up and loosen the muscles and joints. However, for this to work, you must first find the right style.

Gentle Iyengar and Hatha yoga are excellent styles and classes to begin with. However, ensure that talk to the instructor beforehand to be sure that the class is adaptable and appropriate for older adults. Chair yoga (or even wheelchair yoga) can be an ever better place to start since it slows things down further and allows for all kinds of adaptations.

seniors in kitchen trying cooking as a hobby

Cooking

If you are a senior that loved to cook but is now quite the challenge due to your arthritis, you should consider investing in some lightweight pots and pans that will remove some of the strain for you. Perhaps you could even try talking to your caregivers so that they take over some of the more challenging tasks.

You can even take this renewed interest in cooking to put together your favorite recipes with your secret ingredients and share with your family and friends. Your renewed interest in the culinary arts can be shared with community meals that are more about socializing and eating as opposed to food preparation.

Photography

Did you ever dream of becoming the next Picasso behind the lens when you were younger? Your dreams are still valid. You can still do some casual photography that will help you build your talent for capturing the moment and build your eye for composition. All you need is an easy to use digital camera, patience, and a pinch of curiosity.

Go for walks at different times of the day to capture your surroundings in different light while exercising the joints and using your new found love for photography as the perfect excuse to visit old friends and new places.

If you don’t like the idea of taking long, leisurely walks, you can always drive or ask a caregiver to drive you to all kinds of spots where you can capture interesting photos.

Birdwatching

Birdwatching can be a fun and healthy activity for seniors with arthritis. To avoid putting too much strain on your hands, use lightweight binoculars. Birdwatching is the perfect activity for people with arthritis since it involves walking, which is a great form of physical activity that’s also gentle and slow. It will also get you outdoors and breathing in fresh air, which is not only relaxing but also soothing.

senior man birdwatching with pair of binoculars

Reading

If you love reading, but have trouble holding a book when symptoms flare in the joints of your hands, it’s time for some creativity. Invest in a book holder or buy the audio version of your book and listen to it on your smartphone.

Joining a book club is also another great way to rekindle your passion for reading. It is a great social activity that can uplift your spirits. It is estimated that over 30 percent of people with chronic arthritis eventually fall into depression. Don’t allow yourself to be part of this statistic. Be with other people so that you may feel less isolated and improve your mental outlook.

Memory Workouts

If certain physical activities are out of reach for you since you have arthritis, you should consider shifting part of that activity to your mind. You can greatly benefit from memory workouts along with other kinds of unique cognitive stimulation. Regular conversations are also a key part of keeping your brain active, which is why socialization at a day program or other community activity is critical. It might also be fun to learn a new language as part of your memory exercises.

Swimming

Let’s face it, you will never be the next Michael Phelps, but if you would like something a bit more athletic, swimming can be an excellent sport for strengthening your body with little to no impact on your joints.

When you swim, your weight is supported by water, which means that you can build muscle and maintain joints with ease and slow down any further degeneration. With the assistance of a swimming instructor, you can achieve easier strokes to help with your arthritis pain.

senior couple swimming together in a swimming pool

Writing

Sitting down to chronicle your journey through life or to pen down your reflections can be a great way to connect with who you are whether or not you had a passion for writing in the past. Look for local classes and opportunities for getting involved in writing for seniors.

If you find it too difficult to write by hand due to your arthritis pain, technology offers the perfect solution. Today, there’s some great talk-to-text software that allows you to speak your draft for the computer to put into writing.

Final Thoughts

Arthritis is an increasingly common health issue affecting seniors and the elderly throughout the United States and the world at large. However, it does not have to inhibit seniors’ quality of life. It is still possible for seniors to enjoy loads of fun and engaging hobbies that help reduce the pain caused by arthritis and boost mobility such as the 10 discussed here.

About Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS® 305 Articles
Assistive Technology Professional, Custom Wheelchair Specialist, Medical Equipment Guru, Dad and Grandfather
I am a lucky dad to four awesome daughters and grandfather to three pretty terrific grandkids. When not working as a custom wheelchair specialist at a regional home medical equipment company, I enjoy early morning runs and occasional kayak trips. I am also a self-admitted nerd who loves anything from the 1980's. Learn More

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