In honour of World Photography Day on August 19th, we’re looking at the benefits of picking up a camera for the elderly. Adult hobbies are important not just to fill the time as we age, but to provide joy and keep our brains active.
Many older people may have enjoyed photography in their younger years, making it an easy hobby to continue into later life. Even those who only ever snapped pictures of their families can also enjoy getting more interested in capturing other things on film. Its advantages are wide-reaching and stretch from entertainment to health benefits.
The main aim of any hobby is to bring enjoyment and that’s particularly important in old age. Photography requires an increased awareness of surroundings and encourages the viewer to see things in a different light.
Taking another person’s picture is a social experience and sharing photos with friends is a great conversation starter, helping to increase interaction and reduce loneliness. A love of photography can also lead to looking at old photos to bring back memories of family and friends.
Searching for suitable subjects to photograph is an effective way to motivate older people to become more active. A sense of purpose can sometimes be lacking once an individual is retired and children have left home, so building a portfolio of timeless snapshots can fill that void.
Taking photographs requires a number of cognitive functions, from remembering the process of setting up the shot to the hand-eye coordination required to press the trigger. Using the brain in these ways helps to keep it active.
Each individual will have a different level of experience in photography and be able to cope with different types of camera. That means a one-size-fits-all approach shouldn’t be applied to introducing the hobby into a care home setting.
- Choose a camera that’s suitable, whether that be a manual SLR for someone who has been a keen photographer all their life or a point-and-shoot option for people who want instant results.
- Support the elderly in their photography hobby by perhaps setting up a group who can enjoy it together or dedicating a space to showcase their work.
- Make photography equipment readily available and encourage older people to use it. Some lightweight cameras can be easily carried around so they can take photos at will.
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