Several of my friends are residents of care homes and I am often intrigued to discover the diversity of their hobby interests. Reading is probably the most common pastime, closely followed by TV. Some are still able to enjoy their old interests, others have devised new activities.
The most critical determinant of their choice is eyesight, or dexterity, or a range of other health or physical limitations. When the scope for interesting and challenging pursuits is reduced many find other ways to enjoy their waking time. Some discover writing memoirs and letters, or the joy of just simply chatting. Others are happily able to continue their previous interests or participate in some of the activities on offer, wherever they live.
Visiting entertainers, musicians and artists are always popular in residential care homes. I’ve seen some happy times with concerts by performers, sing-alongs, Bingo (Housie Housie), and book readings and demonstrations. And, of course, some fun times with dress-ups, theme-days and travel shows, often with staff getting into the act!
Audible books are useful to some residents, or simply listening to radio, music, or watching the huge range of travel and game shows on TV or on a computer. There’s an enormous range of interesting topics to be found on YouTube which can be watched on laptops, tablets, and TVs.
Then there are those folk, whether in care or at home, who are often able to continue or even start a new hobby. There are a surprising number of those activities, in various forms: like knitting, sewing, craft activities, cards, drawing, painting, and writing and more. Simple, cheap, or reuseable items are often creatively re-purposed by clever people with busy minds and nimble-enough hands! Most hobbies don’t need a computer or internet access, but many will need some manual dexterity – and maybe paper or materials, and a place to store them, which can be a bit restrictive in some places.
In my continued visits to my late wife’s care home, I recently met a resident who continues his photographic hobby there and regularly records some of the resident activities. But his passion is with a range of subject material – birds, plants, flowers, leaves, clouds – his mind constantly searching for creative ideas. And the beauty of it, is that he sees his results immediately, no film to process!
Not everyone can be active and creative, certainly not all the time. Whether at home or in care we can’t always continue with our loved hobby. So, it’s such a joy when we can see or feel and share the results of our own or someone else’s activities or passionate pursuits. And when that’s not possible, it can be fun sometimes to just be a listener. Who doesn’t want to reminisce sometimes!
Remembering past times is sometimes a great pastime…..