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Long lost hobbies


Why we’re looking to the past for a new pastime at Care UK

Regardless of age, hobbies play an important part in all of our lives. Whether it’s to pass the time, destress, or remain mentally productive, having a hobby provides endless opportunities to enrich our lives. 

With technology ever evolving, the opportunity to enjoy something new is constantly being created – but with more hobbies on offer to explore, the risk of losing much-loved pastimes increases. From woodworking to flower arranging and embroidery, these favourite hobbies from the past risk being lost in the digital age to video games and other forms of online entertainment. 

To stop these hobbies from being forgotten, residents in Care UK homes across the country have been stepping back in time to revisit their favourite pastimes and calling on younger generations to see if hobbies from their past are still enjoyed today. From conversations with grandchildren to virtual workshops with schools and youth groups, residents are exploring how hobbies have evolved from their time as a youngster. 

For those living with dementia, revisiting a past hobby can help bring back memories, as well as providing an enjoyable way to connect with others through a familiar activity that once brought joy. 

These positive feelings gained from stimulating memories through the chosen hobby can help decrease stress, reduce agitation, and provide a feeling of success and confidence if the hobby is something they are still able to do. Revisiting this hobby can also create an opportunity to have a meaningful conversation, where fond memories and successes can be discussed. 

On top of physical benefits, from increased motor skills to improved coordination, hobbies such as drawing or knitting can also boost cognitive function and even reduce the rate of development for a range of memory conditions, including Alzheimer’s. 

Other hobbies, such as gardening, walking or jigsaw puzzles, also offer the added benefit of providing a fantastic opportunity for social connection – by bringing together groups of people around one common activity – so we would like to encourage everyone to share their favourite hobby and try a new way to pass the time. 

Discover more about the benefits of hobbies


Why take part in reminiscence activities?

Reminiscence activities can be extremely beneficial for older people, particularly those living with dementia, as long-term memory typically remains stronger than the short-term. Drawing on strong memories helps to boost confidence and provides an opportunity to re-live happy times, which can prompt conversation and evoke the associated emotions.

Reminiscence activities you can do at home

If you’re caring for a loved one living with dementia, or simply fancy a trip down memory lane, here are some popular hobbies you can recreate at home:

  • If cooking was a much-loved hobby, why not cook a familiar meal together, engaging all the senses, which may prompt fond and comforting memories from the past.
  • Hobbies such as drawing, pottery, knitting and other crafts can spark remembrance through the power of touch. Handling objects such as paintbrushes, squeezing yarn or playing with fabrics can evoke strong memories which may bring up memories of significant life events. 
  • If birdwatching or being in the great outdoors was a favourite pastime, why not listen to relaxing outdoor sounds that may trigger happy memories, such as the sounds of birds and nature. 
  • Gardening has long been a much-loved hobby but may be hard to recreate if your love one is less mobile. Planting flowers or growing herbs in a planter or reading a gardening magazine may evoke those green-fingered memories! 
  • Music can help those living with dementia by encouraging reminiscing and evoking emotions, as well as helping them to express their feelings and exercise. Why not put on our playlist below and see what your loved one thinks?

Don’t worry if activities don’t always bring back memories, the goal of revisiting the hobby isn’t to remember, but to enjoy time together and provide an opportunity to discuss happy memories that may come up while doing so. 

Why not read more about our approach to dementia care.


Download our 'Easy as ABC' guide

Written by Care UK experts, our free guide is packed full of tips and advice on ways to help an older loved to stay active and engaged, with hobbies, interests and activities.

Download now