Dad needs a new hobby


I need ideas for a new hobby for my father. The day has arrived when Dad is being told to slow down. This is a man who has been on the go for 16 hours straight for the past 75 years. Due to episodes of high blood pressure which set on intense vertigo, he will be restricted in his activities for a while. Still active, just no driving, no strenuous activities.

He loves the outdoors, but gets cold very easily. We live in the Midwest where winter will shut him in. Normally, he and Mom would be on their way to Arizona after Christmas, but now he will be stuck in the Midwest for a while for several follow up visits with doctors. The day he got out of the hospital, he tried to shovel the porch (we had already cleared the driveway and walkway for them). Mom just about kicked him out of the house for that [font=Wingdings]J[/font].

He likes to bowl, but you can’t do that all day. He is not real detail oriented so I can’t see him getting into models or puzzles. He likes to build on a larger scale. I could see him getting into woodworking, but their house does not have the room; unless maybe we insulate and heat his garage.

Are their any others on this site who have been on the go for their whole life, and then had to slow down due to health. He feels fine when he is not having a dizzy spell and thinks he can do whatever he wants. I am actually afraid that having to slow down may have a worse effect on his mental health than any physical problems he may have.


What was his carreer? Perhaps he could mentor others in the same business -

How about at-home study, distance learning?

Rosary making?


What about volunteering at a local hospital?


No offense to the golfers out there…but I always thought that when I turn 75, that would be a good age to take up golf…


What about joining the Knights of Columbus? Though any age man is welcome, it does seem to be really popular with the older men. They do a lot of different little projects and someone with some time on his hand would be much appreciated. Plus, your dad would probably make some new friends with interesting hobbies of their own that he might want to pick up.


All excellent ideas. I especially like the KOC idea. Keep the ideas coming.


Bridge (The card game–keeps the mind and the hands active, provides fellowship)

RVing (allows him to be active in the outdoors during the day and warm at night, but also expensive)

Touring (staying in motels while driving in the car–again, not cheap)

Travelling (either short or long distance. Many times groups are formed to go on trips. And lots of times there are seniors communities that offer free or reduced housing for a few nights in return for the people checking out the community, making travelling quite economical for seniors)

Woodworking (he can always put it down and come back to it another time) and related work like carving

Painting (same as woodworking, but does require some skill)

Mentoring (such as being an RCIA sponsor, a confirmation sponsor, a Youth Group helper, a Boy Scouts helper, etc – which has the added benefit of keeping his mind working)

Swimming (keeps him active and is easy on the body)

Also, a good work out regimen for his age including aerobics and weightlifting can help to keep his body from being so fragile. of course, this should be done under his doctor’s guidance. There are lots of gyms which offer such classes tailored to older participants.

Volunteering (St Vincent de Paul, church library, sidewalk counselling)

Ballroom dancing (keeps the mind and the body healthy)

Day hiking within close proximity

Working with the choir or other musical group


The big thing is in how the new hobby (or hobbies) comes across to him. You don’t want him to feel put aside or worthless. He’s lived long enough to merit someone else shoveling the sidewalk. His worth is not measured by whether or not the porch is shoveled. He needs to feel good about branching into other areas he can do. I am reminded of an article I read the other day about the importance of keeping the mind and body healthy in old age, and how just 14 days of living healthy can cause considerable improvement in mental health.

Also, make sure he is evaluated for depression. Many elderly people suffer from undiagnosed depression which has a limiting effect on their lives, and life spans, which is a shame considering how treatable it is. Staying active will be a huge boon in preventing it or getting rid of it.


One day last year, I attended a model railroad show… at a local high school… they had vendors and operating railroads. It was a lot of enjoyment for kids of all ages.

Got to chatting with one of the fellows helping out with an N-scale model “modular” railroad display.

He was maybe in his 70’s and he said that a couple of years ago, his wife had died. He was lost. By “accident” he stumbled upon a model railroad club and that was it… he had no previous model railroad experience… the fellowship was extraordinary… he was able to apply whatever hours he wanted to … helped out building layouts and modules… helped set up and tear down modular layouts at the shows… loved chatting with people about building railroads. … loved chatting with the young kids…

It turned his life around.


Model airplane building.

Learning to use the computer to keep in touch with friends.

Researching his family geneology.

Documenting his life story (or memories of his life) on tape or on computer files, for his family.

A “Big Brother” or grandfather figure for less fortunate kids who could use an elderly role model.

(Be sure to tell us how it goes and what he takes an interest in.)


He could take up beekeeping. Or at least build the boxes for beekeepers. Its great outside work and would keep him busy for the whole summer.



bird watching, actual quietly is the best way, wife or someone else drives him to a good spot, you just sit or wander around and watch the birds. Photography of the birds or nature in general can be very absorbing. Backyard birding is great even up north in the winter with the proper feeders and nesting boxes put up in the yard.


How about door-to-door apologetics… get to meet lots of “nice” people, get lots of exercise, have lively discussions…:bigyikes:


does it have to be a hobby? I think the retirement years are great ones for Christian service. Maybe he could check with his parish for a need he could fill? I’m sure the Boy Scouts would love help. The pro-life committee at our church is always in need of warriors to give service. St. Vincent de Paul society uses case workers to work one on one with the needy. My mom and dad make rosaries and staple and mail out literature for their apostolate. I think a daily rosary walk is wonderful–usually Malls offer times for winter strolls. Also, there are many lonely seniors out there that would appreciate companionship. My children adore their grandparents and any time they spend with them is so wonderful. I hope there are grandchildren who can visit.


There is always golf. In the winter, three are indoor ranges. In the summer, if things get too warm, there are golf carts.


Volunteer. The jobs they would have for him at food banks, shelters, or homeless kitchens are indoor and useful. Habitat for Humanity needs people that know the working end of a hammer, and they have interior work to do. There are organizations that volunteer to do odd jobs for older people or others not able to do their own home maintence. If he finds an organization he likes, they’ll find jobs that suit his abilities and endurance. If your mom can still drive, they’ll find a job for her, too.

And yes, if he can think of a single thing he’d do out there if it weren’t so darned cold, insulate and heat the garage so he’ll have it as a work space. If you have a working dog instead of a lap dog, you need to be sure they something to do or they’re a bear to be around. If you don’t let him find his own work to occupy him, your mother may bean him with a cast-iron skillet because she can’t take another minute of having him follow her around and mess with “her” work.


Does he like animals? Every shelter could use more volunteers. while dog walking in winter may be out of the question, he could just go and sit with the kitties and play with them (which is very calming) or help out in the office. I volunteer at a shelter and we have people of both genders, all ages and varying physical abilities coming in. We even have folks with CP coming in and putting in time. It’s a great opportunity to help the animals and meet other people also.

Does he have a computer and/or digital camera?. He can learn to sell on Ebay or and make a few extra dollars. Or take up digital photography and make beautiful pictures, cards and other paper crafts. Or how about taking an on-line course? There are many opportunities for distance learning, maybe he’d like to take a course that he some interest in…say history or a Bible study course.

Hobbies like rosary or jewelry making are fun but require a lot of manual dexterity and good eyesight. Quilting bees and crocheting is ok, but he won’t meet too many men in those circles.

If there’s a senior center nearby that would be great. These centers offer all kinds of free or low cost classes, from chair excercise to bridge groups to book discussion groups.


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