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Staying active, both physically and cognitively, is important at any age. However, research demonstrates that participating in activities and hobbies as we age is even more important to slowing cognitive decline and even lowering fall risk. Even if it has been years since you or your loved one has tried a new hobby, it’s never too late to start discovering what makes you smile and feel happy.

Though the sunshine and warmer temperatures might be calling you outdoors, there are plenty of safe indoor activities that you or your loved one can try independently or during your next visit. Most of these indoor activities don’t require more than supplies you may already have around the house, which makes them even more accessible to anyone.


You don’t have to lace up your tennis shoes and hike for miles to enjoy the sounds of your local birds. Instead, you can watch them from the comfort of your kitchen table or couch. Consider investing in a few bird feeders to place outside where you can easily see your visitors from inside. You’ll get to know the birds that stop by daily for a snack, and you might even become fond of the squirrels that also scurry around looking for leftovers. If you aren’t familiar with the birds you see at your feeder, a quick internet search for local birds in your area will give you photos to compare as you find out which types you are seeing and hearing.

Download The Busy Person's Guide to Recreation in Retirement

Indoor Gardening

Gardening may seem like an unattainable hobby for some, but you don’t need a green thumb to be successful and immediately see the benefits of it. Getting your hands in the dirt to plant seeds or starter plants is excellent fine motor and sensory work, which can lead to feelings of peace and calm. Furthermore, watering and nurturing houseplants offers a sense of purpose, which can decrease feelings of loneliness or depression.

To get started, visit your local greenhouse to ask for hearty houseplants for beginners, such as pothos or spider plants. Or, start a small kitchen garden with herbs that smell and taste delicious. Begin with just one plant, and you’ll soon feel like you are ready to expand your greenery.

Poetry or Journaling

Any type of creative writing is excellent for cognitive health, as well as for the joy that comes with creating something new. Even if you don’t fancy yourself a writer, you can quickly try it out by committing to jotting down a few lines every day in a designated place. You don’t have to write anything profound, so take the pressure off. Instead, you can start with observations you make about your surroundings or your feelings. Give yourself a time frame, like two weeks, to write something in your journal every day.

Then take it up a notch by trying your hand at poetry. For example, commit to writing one haiku (a three-line poem, wherein the first and third lines have five syllables and the second line has seven syllables) every day for 10 days. Though haiku writing can seem difficult at first, it’s a great way to dip your toe into poetry because it doesn’t require any type of rhyming.

Getting in the Kitchen

Speaking of sensory and creative experiences, cooking or baking is an excellent way to express yourself, and with delicious outcomes. Try rekindling your love of baking or cooking by breaking out your family’s favorite comfort food recipes. Just like riding a bike, you’ll find your rhythm in the kitchen sooner than later. Then, you’ll have the confidence to try out new recipes or design your own concoctions.

Looking for more safe indoor activities? Find a few more ideas by downloading our free resource, “The Busy Person’s Guide to Retirement.” Then, start considering senior living as the doorway to the retirement you’ve always wanted.

Here at Arbor Terrace Morris Plains, our residents benefit from events, activities, and trips throughout the week. There’s always something new to try, and someone to try it with here in our bustling community. Call us to learn more about our activity program so you can see what life is like inside our doors.

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Mary Beth Kane

About the Author: Mary Beth Kane

Mary Beth began her career as a therapeutic recreation specialist developing award winning activity-based programs for people living with dementia and their care partners. Since 2004, she has worked in assisted living communities where she strengthened ties within the professional community and helped families find the right senior living communities for their loved one. Mary Beth has been a care partner for both her parents and brings the joys and challenges of these years to her work on a daily basis.

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