Long Lost Hobbies For People With Dementia


Elderly Woman With Dementia Painting

More and more research is looking at how to support those living with dementia. We came across a nationwide initiative called Long Lost Hobbies. This is the initiative that revisits traditional hobbies as a part of support for people living with dementia, after a national survey found 77% of adults feel technology is the cause of traditional skills being lost, including flower arranging, knitting and woodworking. Caregivers including Live-in Carers took an active part in this survey.


We all know that, regardless of age, hobbies have always been an important part of our lives. Ever evolving technology offers all of us new things to learn but also increases the risk of losing much-loved hobbies from the past.


To stop these hobbies from being forgotten, with the support their Carers elderly were encouraged to revisit the activities they liked when they were young, and call on younger generations to see if hobbies from their past can still be enjoyed today.


For those living with dementia, revisiting a hobby from the past helps bring back memories. It is also a way to connect with others through a familiar activity. The positive emotions gained through stimulating memories help decrease stress, reduce agitation, and provide a feeling of success and confidence amongst people living with dementia.


Hobbies such as drawing or knitting boosts cognitive function and can even reduce the rate of development for a number of health conditions, including Alzheimer’s. This is on top of physical benefits which vary from increased motor skills to improved coordination.


Other hobbies, such as gardening, walking or jigsaw puzzles, bring together different people around one common activity which is a fantastic opportunity for social connection!


We have looked at Care UK for the insights of the benefits of the traditional hobbies.


Physical Benefits

Any hobby that involves using your hands and fingers will help to maintain, and even improve, fine motor skills. Studies show that elderly people who had a tremor in their hands before regularly taking up one of these activities have become steady-handed just weeks later. The best hobbies to maintain fine motor skills are sewing, knitting, making cardboard models and woodworking.


A charity called Arts and Minds led a dementia pottery workshop in one of the UK Care Homes where residents made their very own clay pots.

Arts and Minds provides creative activities to support positive mental wellbeing, and its sessions allow older people living with the condition to connect with others, express their emotions and enjoy a sense of accomplishment through arts and crafts.


Dr Emily Bradfield, Charity Director at Arts and Minds, said: “Creative activities have proven to be very beneficial in supporting those living with a wide variety of mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety, and for people living with dementia and other conditions. The arts offer a person a way to express themselves, while also being relaxing. The social aspect is an integral element of our programmes, enabling people to chat and create together.”


Boosting Brain Function

Then there are the mental benefits that come from concentrating for longer periods of time, whether through recalling a recipe from memory, or making mental calculations. Such skills boost cognitive function and brain health, helping to keep the brain fitter for longer.


Enhancing Social Skills

Elderly who are living with dementia have even more to gain from enjoying life-long hobbies. As a result of enjoying all the benefits above, we have seen that supporting people with dementia to take part in meaningful activities can slow the progress of their condition. What is more, people who seem to have lost the ability to speak in other situations, chat easily with others and even burst into song when doing the hobbies they love! Proof indeed that when you’re doing something you love, amazing things can happen.


So, if you have any favourite activity from your past that you enjoyed doing at your free time, share it with your family members or your Carer. We are sure you all will have fun!


Designed to enable the elderly to live active and fulfilled lives, while also promoting independence, Live-in Care is an option to explore to have a Companion or Carer help yo stay living in your own home, enjoying your favourite hobbies. To find out more about Live-in Care, call us on 01264 319 399