Here are some hobbies to help protect nursing home residents from depression and isolation.

When our loved ones reside in a nursing home or other long-term care (LTC) facility, they should be able to live their lives as comfortably as if they were still in their home. However, in some facilities or instances, residents suffer from depression, isolation or a lack of healthy stimulation.

While many understand that diet, exercise and positive health choices contribute to helping older individuals feel more energetic, mental and social activity are just as important as physical activity, especially if the residents’ health is already less than ideal. Quality nursing homes and LTC facilities encourage residents to pursue hobbies, structured activities and provide them access to a social network. All of which are factors that contribute to avoiding isolation and more optimal health.

Healthy Hobbies for Nursing Home Residents Can Include:

1. Doing Arts and Crafts: Creative activities are fun and can provide stimulation that is critical to older adults, especially those who suffer from or are at risk for cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

2. Volunteering: If a resident is still able to get out and about a couple of hours a day, and don’t suffer from cognitive decline, volunteering their time at a local fundraising event, or community center can provide not only great socialization, but also self-worth. As adults age, they often feel like they have less purpose and can feel isolated from their community. 

3. Swimming or water aerobics: Depending on a resident’s health or activity level, swimming and/or water aerobics are often the easiest form of exercise as water takes pressure off the joints. Exercises are also great for building up strength and can help prevent falls.

4. Walking: Walking is inexpensive, simple and very accessible to moderately mobile nursing home residents. Walking has a multitude of health benefits for everyone, but is especially helpful for seniors as the activity helps maintain mobility and independence.

5. Playing Games/Cards: Cards and games are an easy way for residents to keep their minds’ sharp. Research has shown that adults who enjoy mentally stimulating games may have sharper thinking skills and better-connected synapses in their brain, which can help older adults suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia. 

6. Gardening: Gardening has many health and therapeutic benefits for older people. It encourages use of motor skills while improving endurance and strength, and even reduces stress levels by promoting relaxation. Many senior living communities and nursing homes offer gardening clubs for residents.

7. Caring for a Pet: Pets have been shown to reduce blood pressure and stress levels in humans and can actually help lower cholesterol, fight depression and protect against heart conditions. If a resident is not allowed to have a pet, ask the facility if they would allow friends or family members the opportunity to bring pets to visit!

8. Visiting with Family and Friends: Visiting is one of the most important things friends and families of residents living in nursing homes or LTC facilities can do. Social isolation and loneliness have been associated with increased risk for depression, high blood pressure, mental decline and more.

Participating in and practicing such activities help seniors do more and stay active, which is important to their overall well-being. When looking for a nursing home or LTC facility for yourself or a loved one, it is recommended to select one that ensures residents have access to healthy activities like these. But most importantly, a quality nursing home or LTC facility must ensure that residents aren’t subjected to any form of abuse or neglect.

If you or a loved one has experienced neglect or abuse in a nursing home, you should speak with an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorney right away. Contact Hupy and Abraham for a free consultation by calling 800-800-5678 or start a live chat anytime at