Later life is usually defined as the stage in adulthood that begins after retirement. For most people, retirement begins around 65 to 67 years of age, and retiring from work gives you more time on your hands. Ideally, retirees should strive to maintain both physically and socially active.
However, this isn’t always the case, as many retirees become reclusive and suffer from boredom and loneliness. The good news is that there are many new and exciting skills you can still learn in later life to help you stay socially, physically, and mentally active.
#1: Another Language
It’s thought by many that you can only learn another language fluently in your early years, so it’s too late to learn a new language later in life. While it is easier to pick up another language when you’re younger, it’s not impossible to learn a new language as you age. In fact, studies have shown that learning a new language can help delay dementia by up to five years on average. Learning a new language can also improve memory in general.
Some of the easiest languages for native English speakers to learn include:
Of course, you can try learning any language that you want, especially the national/official language(s) of the country you’d like to travel to. Learning the native language can enhance your travel experience.
#2: Creative Hobbies
Like learning a new language, taking up a creative hobby also has positive effects on memory and the brain as a whole. One of the most common creative hobbies that many people contemplate trying is learning to play an instrument. It’s not too late to learn to play an instrument in later life— in fact, it’s the perfect time because this stimulating mental challenge also helps to fight against dementia. Some of the easiest instruments to learn at any age include:
- Keyboard (electric piano)
As with choosing a new language to learn, you can choose a more challenging instrument to learn. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to play a traditional piano, you should take lessons. The good news is that with social media platforms and search engines like YouTube, you can learn to play an instrument without taking any formal lessons. You can also choose other reactive outlets such as painting, ceramics and sculpture, or writing.
#3: First Aid
First aid and other basic life support skills aren’t usually something that people think of learning in later life, but these techniques can be very helpful. Some of the most well-known first aid techniques, such as CPR, can only be performed on other people, but there are first aid techniques to learn that you can perform on yourself. The Heimlich maneuver, for example, can be performed on other people, and you can perform it on yourself if you’re choking.
You’ll also learn how to treat cuts and burns, as well as learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of a stroke and heart attack. You can get online first aid and basic life support certifications through websites like ProTrainings, even if you’re not a medical professional.
#4: Gardening and Fishing
Gardening and fishing are two traditional hobbies that many people take up in later life, although these hobbies are enjoyed by people of all ages. When it comes to later adulthood, gardening and fishing are great ways to stay in shape and get physically active, as they are both light to moderate forms of exercise. Because of this, these activities can improve dexterity, stamina, and brain function. Also, exposure to sunlight (with SPF 30 or higher sunscreen) and fresh air are good for physical and mental health.
Both of these activities are also good for physical health because they allow you to grow and catch your own food. In your garden, you can grow herbs, vegetables, and fruit (depending on what’s suitable for the climate), and fish is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. A healthy diet combined with physical activity is key to a healthy lifestyle, especially in later life.
The bottom line is that it’s never too late to learn life-saving techniques, better ways to take care of your physical health and activities that benefit both cognitive and mental health. Other hobbies to consider that can be beneficial at any age include swimming, golfing, walking, yoga, hiking, cooking, birdwatching, photography, and reading. It’s also a good idea to take up hobbies that stimulate the mind, such as solving jigsaw, crossword, and other types of puzzles.