Children learn skills throughout their lifetime, but the older you get, the harder it can be to know new ones. Your world becomes much smaller after all, and sometimes, your physical abilities are inhibited too. Thankfully, there are still plenty of things you can do to keep your mind active even when your body does not move quite as quickly as it used to. Here are some of the top new skills for the elderly to pick up.
Learn to Play an Instrument
Whether it is an instrument you played as a child or one you want to try now, learning a new tool has tons of benefits for your mental and physical health. Learning an instrument can help keep your brain sharp and slow down cognitive decline. If you play in a band, you can even stay socially engaged and stay physically active—researchers have found that playing music increases heart rate and blood flow. You may feel more confident about yourself too: Music can improve self-esteem and lower anxiety, research shows.
Become a Master at Drawing
Whether you have been drawing for decades or have never picked up a pencil, you can improve your skills by finding a teacher. Not only will a skilled teacher help you learn new techniques and skills, but they will also provide tips and tricks that allow even beginners to draw attractive sketches. Drawing does not just require technical skill—the best artists also have an eye for color, shape, and proportions that can be hard to master without guidance. If you live in or near a community living center, there are plenty of opportunities to practice art. Of course, it is not limited to those in their golden years; anyone who wants to learn more about art should seek out an instructor.
Learn a New Language
Learning a new language is not only a great way to pass time, but it can also help build cognitive skills and develop critical social-emotional skills that will allow you to better engage with others. And it is never too late to learn! Research has shown that adults who learn new languages tend to score higher on certain types of IQ tests than those who do not. There are plenty of options out there for learning a new language, from free online courses or apps to in-person classes in your area. The key is finding something that will work for you.
Train Your Dog
In recent years, dog training has exploded in popularity, with dog trainers even getting their TV shows. Today’s retirees are at an advantage when training dogs — they have more time to spend on socialization and obedience. A well-trained dog can help loved ones feel safer while walking alone or being left alone in their homes. Other benefits include improving physical and mental health by reducing stress, reducing blood pressure, and burning calories while also providing a sense of purpose for people who enjoy working with animals. Training your dog takes time, but just like anything else worth doing, it starts by setting manageable yet challenging goals.
Get into Yoga
Yoga can improve your strength, flexibility, and overall balance in ways you never imagined. But some residents in senior living communities tend to avoid yoga because they think it is for younger people. It is not! If you love yoga, keep practicing; if you never tried it, give it a go. You might be surprised at how much better you feel when you improve your flexibility and balance—and how good it feels to enjoy something new later in life.