Being bored is a natural part of life. We all have moments in our day or times in our week where we don’t have anything interesting to do or just can’t find anything that grabs our attention enough to keep us stimulated and engaged. Occasional boredom is alright, but some seniors who find themselves feeling more bored in their older age than they ever have before may find themselves beginning to worry that boredom will become a staple of their everyday lives as they grow older. There are many ways that seniors can banish boredom and keep themselves interested and happy in the goings-on of their everyday lives, it just takes a little exploration and planning to find the things that work for them.
The Harm of Boredom
Some studies have indicated that individuals who experience an excess of boredom in their lives are at an increased risk for heart attacks, stroke, and earlier death than those who are stimulated and content on a regular basis. Boredom itself can be an uncomfortable state to be in for extended periods of time and seniors who are bored too often may become at a greater risk of experiencing the following:
- Substance Abuse
- Anger and Mood Problems
- Social Withdrawal
- Lower Cognitive Function
Seniors and Boredom
The phase of life in which seniors find themselves involves many factors that can put them at risk of experiencing boredom more often. Shifting family roles, retirement, and general life changes can often result in seniors no longer being involved in many of the things that once kept them busy, occupied, and stimulated. Older age is a whole new kettle of fish, and seniors who haven’t necessarily made a point of signing up for activities, picking up hobbies, or making plans with friends may find themselves suddenly feeling bored all the time. Isolation and loneliness are commonly experienced by seniors and the loss of routines from prior to retirement can be challenging to deal with.
While boredom can be a difficult thing to deal with both emotionally and cognitively, there are many ways that seniors can try to reduce the amount of time they spend feeling bored so that they can continue to enjoy their daily lives in older age.
- Pick Up a Hobby: Trying out a new hobby or going back to an old favourite can be a great way for seniors to keep themselves from being bored all the time. Whether it is something crafty, playing an instrument, some form of art, or even updating things around the house, having a hobby means that there is always something to turn to when the schedule for the day is looking a little empty.
- Make Plans with People: Seeing friends and family or attending social or community groups help to keep seniors socially connected and free of boredom. Seniors can join classes, volunteer, visit a place of worship, or just invite friends over for tea and a chat.
- Go on Adventures: Getting outside and away from the house can help provide a new perspective and a little distance from boredom. Whether it is just a stroll in the park or a full-on vacation to another city, getting out to see new things is stimulating and exciting.
- Get Physical: Physical activity is great for the body and the mind. Seniors can pick up a sport, try yoga, or just go for walks. Any form of activity can be great to keep the mind busy and free of boredom.
- Experiment: For seniors, trying new things can be a great experience. The mental stimulation that comes with doing something you haven’t tried before can be exciting and certainly keeps boredom at bay.
Boredom can be a nasty thing to have to deal with too often, but there are so many ways to keep busy without over-exerting. There is a wonderful balance that can be found that allows seniors the down-time they need while also preventing them from stewing too often in boredom and the negative emotions and thoughts that can so often accompany it.