4 Creative Hobbies That Can Boost Cognitive Function

Posted By on April 8, 2023

As you navigate your retirement years and start getting back in touch with the things that matter to you, finding activities that fill your days with purpose, excitement, and joy can be challenging.

While activities like reading and gardening are wonderful ways to spend your time, there are lesser-known activities that you might have yet to consider that can expand your horizons while promoting cognitive function.

HarborChase of South Portland delivers personalized attention, unique amenities, and a touch of luxury in our senior living community. We strive to provide the tools residents need in order to grow as people and explore new ideas and activities to help them achieve their goals. We help our senior living residents in South Portland, Maine, discover new passions that can help them live their life to the fullest! 

Here are four unique hobbies that can provide a new lease on life, a feeling of purpose, and promote mental wellness.

1. Photography

Studies have shown that older adults who take up new hobbies gain more memory improvement than those who only participate in social activities or activities that are less cognitively stimulating. The more you allow yourself to discover new ideas and learn new practices can give your brain a workout and help you advance your cognitive function, and photography is an excellent practice for doing so!

Anyone can pick up a camera or cell phone to document the things that happen in their everyday lives, but the art of photography relies on learning how to view the world through a thoughtful and artistic lens. This gives you a new perspective on things you might have never noticed before, and it can be exciting and fun. In addition, there are plenty of options when it comes to subject matter and camera techniques, allowing you a whole new world to explore!

2. Music

A 2013 study found the effects of learning and practicing a new instrument had astonishing impacts on cognitive function and mood in older adults. During the study, participants aged 60-85 took piano lessons for 30 minutes each week. Not only did they report enhanced mood and well-being, but they exhibited improved memory and processing skills after just three months of lessons.

However, learning a new instrument isn’t the only music-related hobby to take up. Like many aspects of popular culture, vinyl records went out of style only to become popular again. The comeback of vinyl has been so impactful it was reported that over 40 million LPs were sold in 2022! While some enjoy records over digitized music for the sound quality, collecting has sparked a passionate hobby in many people. There’s nothing like visiting a local record store, sifting through to find your favorite records, and joining a community of fellow music lovers. 

Websites like Discogs, a music database that caters to record collectors, are excellent tools to help you get started. Discogs help you dust off your vinyl and organize your collection in one place, and they can connect you to a whole system of collectors and sellers.

3. Theater

“All the world’s a stage,” as Shakespeare once said, and theater taps into our humanity by helping us learn something about ourselves through meaningful productions. Watching others on stage as they laugh, resolve conflict, cry, love, and exhibit all forms of emotion promotes a sense of connection between actors and the audience that causes us to relate and examine our own lives. 

It’s never too late to act, and joining a local theater group is an excellent way to stay social and get to know your community while stimulating your brain and creativity. In addition, exploring different types of theater, whether improvisational or classic productions, can help you build cognitive skills and achieve a sense of empowerment and self-discovery. In fact, the National Institute on Aging has stated that acting is incredibly beneficial for seniors by providing an outlet for expressing emotions, increasing social interaction, and improving cognition. 

When you choose senior living in South Portland, Maine, our vibrant local community has dozens of theater groups and companies to choose from – making it easy for residents to find what fits their personality! 

4. Genealogy

Nowadays, dozens of websites and companies can help you explore your family history and uncover new connections. Discovering information about where your family came from, past achievements of your ancestors, and locating distant relatives allows you to become the keeper of your family information. 

A lot of genealogical research is done online through websites like Ancestry.com, MyHeritage.com, and even Archives.gov, which can also allow you to explore new kinds of technology! For example, studies have proven that computer usage for seniors can improve cognitive function in the areas of the brain associated with memory and decision-making. 

At HarborChase, we offer a maintenance-free lifestyle so that retirees can spend their days prioritizing their health, wellness, and hobbies. We encourage you to explore a new interest or challenge your brain with a new hobby!

If you’re ready to learn more about our senior living community in South Portland, Maine, and experience luxury, convenience, and care, visit our website today to schedule your personalized tour!