Health > How can Hobbies Help Seniors with Arthritis? You’d Be Surprised to Know!
3rd Aug 2022

How can Hobbies Help Seniors with Arthritis? You’d Be Surprised to Know!

Be it rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory arthritis, seniors who experience pain in the joints, hip, hands, feet or fingers should definitely give inculcating hobbies a go. A hobby is an excellent way to get arthritis pain relief. It may be new hobbies learnt or modifying old pursuits. Swimming, water exercises, dancing, yoga, cycling, etc., are some hobbies which can be practised regularly aimed at preventing arthritis. Knitting, cooking, painting, various crafts, volunteering, etc., are some different hobbies that may inculcate to combat the symptoms. First, let’s get some basic info about this prevalent senior ailment,  before jumping to the ‘how-to-prevent-arthritis’ part.


Definition of Arthritis

Arthritis is one word that sums up most types of chronic joint pain experienced by older people. The typical symptoms of arthritis are:

  • Swelling in the joints
  • Stiffness in the joints
  • Continuous pain in the joints
  • Redness and warm touch in the joints
  • The moving difficulty of joints
  • Tenderness in the joints


Types of Arthritis

There are many types of arthritis observed in seniors, but the most common types are:

  1. Rheumatoid Arthritis: It is inflammatory arthritis which is of auto-immune origin. Here the body’s immune system malfunctions and produces antibodies towards itself, particularly the joints. This causes inflammation in the joints, which can damage the joints permanently and even spread to the other parts of the body, like arthritis in feet.


2. Osteoarthritis: It is an arthritis type which occurs due to wear and tear in the body. This degenerative disease can happen to anybody, irrespective of age. Getting old is not the only arthritis cause. Here the cartilage present in between the joints undergoes extreme usage. This leads to unbearable arthritis pain when the joints are moved since the cartilage cushioning is absent and the bones rub against each other.


New Hobbies for Arthritis Pain Relief

Despite the low mobility along with pain and stiffness experienced by the patients, they can still enjoy many beneficial activities. This severe disease can be excruciating and may limit movement, make the bearer feel alone or unhappy, having both physical & mental repercussions. Therefore afflicted seniors have to keep attempting new hobbies that are engaging, productive and beneficial. They can now have fun without having to move around much by participating in fun activities and low-impact movements that boost their mood. Some new activities that can be explored and converted into hobbies are listed below:


1. Gardening


This is a productive activity which can extend to growing vegetables, fruits, decorative plants, orchids, modified plants, etc. Raised planting beds are ideal for arthritic patients who have limited mobility. High-yield plants that do not need much maintenance are a thrill to grow and reproduce. Long handles for gardening tools, soft grips, etc., are some tips that help you make this activity safer and easier for seniors. Gardening with friends or other community members is also a great addition for seniors with the illness.


2. Music


It can be a highly relaxing and motivating medium for patients who experience chronic pain. Listening to different types of music whilst engaging in other activities can be a mood booster. Seniors can even learn to play a new musical instrument like a mouth organ, flute, piano, tambourine, etc., which are fairly easy to manoeuvre. Easy learning musical instruments can be a refreshing and new experience for seniors with the disease.


3. Cooking


This is an innovative way to spend time with near & dear ones, and the result is delicious too. Seniors with arthritis can learn new ways to cook with the help of the addition of new technology kitchen tools. Quick appliances and electric gadgets are now readily available, which can make cooking exciting and less strenuous. Those who love to cook need not give up on specific cooking methods that can be modified for simpler preparation. Trying out new recipes and mastering them, changing ingredients and combining exquisite foods are some fun variations to the regular cooking affair. Inviting friends and family members and hosting them can be another fun way of spending more time with them.


4. Crafts and arts

Crafts and arts

Painting and crafts with modified tools is another way to spend productive time for seniors. Sculpturing, drawing, painting with new concepts, pottery, etc., are some additions which can be added to the daily routine of the elderly. These activities can distract them from their pain by boosting their mental state. Making new family albums, changing the home décor and collecting scrapbooks, creating arts for gifting or even selling, etc., are some ways to engage in artistic endeavours. Besides, getting creative positively impacts the brain while decreasing negative thoughts, putting off stress or depression, etc.


5. Reading or writing

Reading 0r writing

Those seniors who could never find the time before to read should now do so. Seniors who have always loved to read can expand their horizons with new material. Creative writing of blogs, content writing, audiobooks, etc., are some new additions available with today’s technology which did not exist before. Seniors can start with writing and reading activities and expand their knowledge of various topics and fields, which will keep them occupied mentally and physically.


6. Memory games

Memory games

Puzzles, brain teasers, stimulative thinking games, etc., are some fun ways to handle stress and anxiety in seniors. Playing with friends and family members using board games, trivia games, online gaming, sports-based computer games, etc., are some new methods which can be very refreshing to the elderly. Games can be socialising too and help build relationships with new acquaintances.


7. Volunteering


Going out to meet new people and helping others in some form can be very engaging for elders. There are many volunteering agencies to get in touch with if seniors are looking to venture out of home and participate in altruistic activities. It can be physically motivating to move out of their comfort zone and mentally de-stressing for those older adults who love to be involved in such acts of generosity.


8. Yoga


It is a fun way of being physically active and does not have to be performed at a floor level. Yoga is a form of stretching that can decrease the pain and the various challenges of having worn-out joints. There are many chair-based yoga poses which can be performed with simple movements. Knee pain and other joint pains can be considerably controlled and decreased with regular yoga practice.


9. Swimming


This can be a great form of unwinding for seniors with severe arthritic pain. Water buoyancy relieves the pain and is one of the best ways to prevent arthritis. The weightlessness experienced in the water can decrease the otherwise always-present pain. If swimming is strenuous for arthritic patients, they can try other water exercises. The mobility experienced in water is unlike any other as the water buoyancy greatly assists easy movement. Floating can be a great pain reliever because the movements have low impact.


Modifying Old Hobbies for Renewed Fun

Even though being inactive is a tempting option for affected people, it only worsens the symptoms. Finding the right hobby and modifying some old pursuits are helpful ways of coping with the disease. Along with the aforementioned hobbies, there are also some hobbies that they may have been interested in since before their diagnosis which can be modified for ease, comfort & safety. Some such activities are discussed below:


1. Cycling


Indoor cycling is an excellent form of moving joints non-vigorously. No pressure is felt on the joints, and it is very relaxing. The muscles in the legs are exercised, and arthritis in knees can be tackled specifically. When the muscles are strengthened, movement is more effortless with decreased pain. Whether you prefer low-intensity or high-intensity cycling, performing it regularly can help curb the symptoms of arthritis.


2. Dancing


This is a fun way of tackling the disease and can keep one motivated to perform for lengthier durations. The muscles and joints are exercised healthily too. This is especially helpful for those seniors who used to dance and can now modify some dance types or steps for more ease. Dance therapy for seniors involves slow movements with plenty of repetitions, aimed at helping arthritis of the hips.


3. Knitting and crochet

Knitting and crochet

This is a result-oriented form of relaxing activity for people who experience pain and accompanying symptoms. People afflicted with arthritis in their hands can benefit from slow and repetitive knitting movements. The steps for knitting are a way of tackling arthritis in fingers and can keep the fingers gently exercised. One can now learn new patterns and designs from readily available Youtube videos.


4. Movies and series

Movies and series

Watching films or series from their favourite genre is another hobby of most seniors. There are plenty of modern options to choose from, like national geography, documentaries, history, cooking, dance, etc. Talent shows involving motivation and mental boost are another television experience to try for seniors with chronic symptoms. This allows for a great distraction as well as entertainment.


Benefits of Hobbies for Seniors with Arthritis Pain

Seniors may often find themselves with some amount of idle time, this enables them to benefit from hobbies which can be pursued during this duration. Some benefits are listed as follows:

  • Stress relievers: Hobbies are a great way to forget about the stress of illnesses or even everyday life. They provide the best distraction from pain and personal troubles.


  • Improve immunity: Being active with some hobby boosts the body’s immunity. Besides helping in the pain and relieving symptoms, hobbies involving some physical movements improve the body’s flexibility and stamina.


  • Accomplishment: Hobbies provide a sense of accomplishment and a happy feeling that comes attached. Learning new skills and being creative can be fun, stimulating and rewarding for seniors.


  • Extra income: Having a hobby that pays well can be another source of income for seniors. Extra pocket money is always beneficial and can be used for leisure activities like vacationing with friends and family.


  • Discovering inborn talents: Making time for hidden talents is an expensive affair for most youth. Seniors who have some time on their hands can benefit from hobbies they are good at. Musical instruments, games like chess, stand-up comedy, inspirational speeches, etc., are some talents that may be honed in the later years of their life.

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Arthritis is a painful illness that affects the joints in different parts of the limbs and hips. Combating the various types of arthritis can be a mentally draining experience for most seniors. Irrespective of what causes arthritis, overcoming the different symptoms affects seniors’ overall health. Therefore adopting various types of hobbies, whether old or new, can be immensely distractive in curbing symptoms, whether physical or mental.



Can arthritis be cured?

There is no cure for arthritis, but pain relief measures may be adopted, like hobbies which can be distracting, invigorating, and fulfilling and may even provide a secondary income for seniors.


How fast does arthritis spread?

Depending on the patient’s build, eating habits, immunity levels and hereditary factors, arthritis symptoms can be stable for decades or spread quickly in a few months.


Does arthritis show up on X-ray?

Yes, osteoarthritis and other arthritis types are revealed on X-rays.


Read more:

Arthritis and its Treatment for Seniors

Everything You Need To Know About Arthritis & It’s Management

Activities for Seniors: Elderly Hobbies and Games