Hobbies for RetireesRetirees enjoy their hobbies to the tune of $57 a month, the most of any age group in the U.S., according to data from Bundle.com.
College students only spent about $33 on extracurricular activities, while single men and women spend $49 and $31, respectively.
In this current economic climate, it’s important to save, but affordability isn’t the only criteria retirees should consider when picking a hobby. According to Kate Lindemann, who runs the site Anti-Aging-articles.com, seniors should select an activity that keeps their body, spirit and mind engaged.
“Just pick something,” Lindemann advises. “You don’t need to spend a lot of money right away. But if you try an activity and you find that you like it, you may find it’s worth it to keep going.”
MainStreet rounds up cool hobbies to try.
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Get your move on!Lindemann suggests seniors select a hobby that involves rhythmic activity. “It helps the brain as well as the body,” she says, before pointing out that the exercise you choose should depend on your physical ability. She suggests older seniors take long nature walks around their neighborhoods. New retirees can check out more rigorous activities, such as hiking, kayaking, swimming or even roller skating.
You can use the resources around you, or check out the discount offered through AARP Fitness and Wellness Program. You can, for example, get up to 20% off on select gym memberships or join an online walking club for $14.95.
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Art LessonsIf you’re looking to sharpen your mind, Lindemann suggests taking an art class. “When you’re younger, you don’t have the time to focus on developing your creativity,” she says, pointing out that famous contour artist Elizabeth Layton didn’t get her start in the art world until she took a local drawing class at 68.
Fortunately, Lindemann says, many local community centers or YMCAs offer art lessons to seniors for free. We found examples of this in Riverdale, N.J.; Hemet, Calif.; and Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Beyond that, the overall price is determined by the medium you choose. Oil paints can cost anywhere from $9 to $60 a bottle, for instance, while acrylic paints cost from $5 to $8.
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CookingLeverage your senior discount by signing up for a local cooking class. While it’s harder get this type of education for free – although we did find free tutorials at a Williams-Sonoma in Denver—many discounted culinary classes are offered at local community colleges and senior centers. Collegiate courses typically cost about $60.
AARP also has a message board where senior chefs can swap recipes and collaborate on menus.
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GardeningLindemann says gardening has become increasingly popular since “the tough economy led many folks to want to grow their own fruits and vegetables.” It also offers a creative outlet for those not wanting to take a drawing class. It’s also affordable: You can get a nice seed starting kit for $5 to $50, and packets of seeds only cost about $2.
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BingoThis hobby is a great opportunity to meet new people and be competitive. Many local senior centers, libraries and churches sponsor Bingo nights that seniors can attend for free. The typical Bingo package ranges anywhere from $10 to $50, depending on where you’re playing and how many sheets you play each game.
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CraftingAccording to Lindemann, crafting remains popular for two reasons. It lets seniors’ creativity flourish and allows them to interact with others if they choose to sell their wares at local sales. Of course, don’t expect your hobby to become a money-maker. “You’d need to be selling something people really want,” Lindemann says.
Lindemann suggests crocheting, which is cheaper (you can get spools of yarn for around $20) and doesn’t require the same dexterity as a craft like jewelry-making.
Though, she says “Stores like Michael’s or A.C. Moore are always offering discounts on materials.”
Photo Credit: kpwerker
SkydivingOK, so skydiving may not exactly be in the $57 a month price bracket – a tandem jump typically costs around $150 to $200 - but as soon as we saw seniors raving about the extreme hobby in an online AARP chat group, we knew it bore mentioning.
“It was simply amazing!” one senior posted on the Skydivers Over 50 board. “I was in awe that we were free falling 120 miles per hour and I didn't have that ‘dropped’ feeling.”
While we can’t be certain what kicked off the senior skydiving craze, we suspect it might have something to do with the jump Former President George H.W. Bush http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvA07xQinwI&feature=fvwrel made on his 85th birthday.
Photo Credit: Divemasterking2000
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