Negative Health Impacts of Boredom for Seniors

Boredom is a feeling we all experience at one time or another, but feeling bored and under-stimulated too often can harm health and well-being long-term. Being bored sometimes is a natural part of life for the average individual. The very nature of life requires a high level of steady maintenance for continued health and success. Daily routines are often necessary but can become tedious without variety and excitement.

We all have moments in our day or times during the week when we have nothing interesting to do or can’t seem to find anything that grabs our attention enough to keep us stimulated and engaged. Occasional boredom is alright, but some seniors feel increasingly bored as time passes. Older adults may begin to worry that boredom will become a staple in their everyday lives, which can be a severe cause for concern. There are many ways for seniors to banish boredom and keep themselves interested and happy daily. Finding suitable pursuits and activities takes a little exploration and ingenuity.

Detrimental Effects of Boredom

Studies indicate that individuals who experience excess boredom are at an increased risk for heart attacks, stroke, and earlier death than those who are stimulated and content regularly. Boredom itself can be an uncomfortable state to be in for extended periods, and seniors who are perpetually bored may become at a greater risk of experiencing the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Substance Abuse
  • Anger and Mood Problems
  • Social Withdrawal
  • Lower Cognitive Function

Seniors and Boredom

The later stages of life can introduce an assortment of factors which can put seniors at a higher risk of experiencing more frequent boredom. Shifting family roles, retirement, and general life changes can often result in seniors no longer being involved in many things that once kept them busy, occupied, and stimulated. Older age is a new kettle of fish, and seniors who have let social relationships and regular activities fall by the wayside can find themselves with little to do.

Neglected activities, events, hobbies, and plans with friends and family can lead to social isolation and severe boredom. Seniors commonly experience seclusion and loneliness, and the loss of routine before retirement can be challenging.

Keeping Busy

Boredom can present significant emotional and cognitive challenges. Still, there are many ways seniors can reduce the amount of time they spend feeling bored to continue to enjoy a high quality of daily living.

  • Pick Up a Hobby: Trying out a new hobby or returning to an old favourite can be an excellent way for seniors to keep themselves from being bored all the time. Whether it is something crafty, playing an instrument, creating or enjoying art, or even updating things around the house, having a hobby means that there is always something to turn to when the schedule for the day could be more varied.
  • Social Events and Activities: Spending time with friends and family or attending social or community groups helps keep seniors socially connected and free of boredom. Seniors can join classes, volunteer, visit a place of worship, or invite friends over for tea and a chat.
  • Go on Adventures: Getting outside and away from the house can help provide a new perspective and establish some distance from monotony. Whether just a stroll in the park or a vacation to another city, getting out to see new things is exciting.
  • Get Physical: Physical activity is excellent for the body and the mind. Seniors can pick up a sport, try yoga or tai chi, or engage in numerous other low-impact activities. Any form of physical exercise can be a great way to keep the mind busy and stimulated while elevating the overall mood.
  • Experiment: Any new experience can be enjoyable and exciting and may provide the means for ongoing fun and entertainment. The mental stimulation of doing something you have never tried can be invigorating and certainly keeps boredom at bay.

Incessant boredom can be a nasty thing to deal with, but there are many ways to keep busy without over-exerting oneself. The key is striking the right balance between activity and downtime to prevent stewing in boredom and the negative emotions and thoughts that can often accompany it.

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