Foster a Service Puppy — And 9 Other Things for Seniors to Try in the New Year

Posted by Kia Crawford on January 29th, 2016 in Mind | No Comments

Resolutions are for Quitters!

Foster a Puppy

The person who sets a resolution and is still sticking with it in February is an impressive one. Making major changes in our lives is difficult to do, especially long term, and we often set unobtainable goals and expectations for ourselves and end up quitting within the first few weeks. Failing never feels good, so why not resolve to keep it fresh in 2016. You’ve probably made a lot of resolutions in your life, so as a senior, why not resolve instead to try something you’ve never done in this lifetime? Prepare to meet interesting people along the way, learn A LOT, and make some memories.

Play Pickleball

Pickleball is really catching on across the United States and is popular for all ages! From mommy leagues and youth leagues to Senior leagues and clubs, Pickleball is a fun, competitive game worth trying. Here’s a high school gym coach who can help you understand the rules of the game.

Create Something with Crochet

Find a friend to teach you how to crochet or turn to YouTube tutorials and then practice by making tiny hats for babies in the local NICU. You’ll learn a new skill, work with your hands, and help preemies through the most difficult time in their brand new lives. If Crochet doesn’t capture your interest, move on to cross stitch, dress making, beading, jewelry making… create something!

Faberge Eggs

One of our most famous residents, Carolyn Holbrooke, is known for her favorite craft of making faberge eggs. She has a drawer full of decades old ostrich and goose eggs just ready to take on a brilliant new scene. Learning this craft is easy when you’re with friends. Get everyone together and get to work! As you’re working, learn a little history about the art watching this clip from the History channel.


Adult coloring books#AdultColoring is one of the leading hashtags this past year. Don’t worry if you’re not keen on hashtags; just click this link and see what people are sharing online around this relaxing and entertaining pastime. This is one of those activities likely to stay on your coffee table or bedside table all year long. You can buy coloring books or download free printable pages on the web. Another idea: when you finish coloring something special, send it to someone you love or give it someone you’re grateful for and make their day.


Ok, so you’ve probably played trivia before. But have you made it a point to play now, with all the knowledge you’ve acquired in your life? We all know how important it is to keep our minds sharp, so why not make a game of it. The best thing about trivia is that it’s 100% portable and you can play anytime, anywhere, and with anyone. Need something to engage your grandchildren? Text them trivia questions and encourage them to come up with their own.

Foster a Service Puppy

Add “Puppy Raiser” to your distinguished resume and experience something truly rewarding. When new pups come into the program, they need to be cared for and trained in basic doglish (see what I did there?). Dogs are known to lift our spirits AND lower our blood pressure. Some programs allow you to keep the puppy; others invite you to schedule regular visits with them. If fostering and training a puppy is too much, invite a training organization to visit for training. Whether you live on your own or you’re part of an Assisted Living or Independent Living Community, service dogs need to practice their training around wheelchairs and canes, elevators, crowds, parking lots, etc.

Learn Sign Language

Or any language, really. Maybe you’ve ALWAYS wanted to learn Cantonese, but have never committed yourself to it. Challenge yourself to learn 3 new words in a new language every day for 30 days. American Sign Language (ASL) is a particularly useful and elegant language of hand signs worth trying. Bonus: if you ever lose your hearing, you’ll still be able to communicate!


Seniors practicing at the barre is more common than you might think. Even if you’ve never been a dancer, simply stretching every day and challenging yourself to move outside your comfort zone is healthy in more ways than one. Can’t get excited about ballet? Maybe ballroom dancing is more your speed. Or consider yoga or simple stretching and flexibility practice instead. There are coaches who host live flexibility classes online and there are endless YouTube videos to teach you “How to” do almost anything you want.

Become a Mentor

Or find yourself a mentor. Read (or reread) Tuesdays with Morrie, a book about a great mentor by Mitch Albom. There is so much that we can learn from each other and if you decide to be intentional about expanding your understanding and your experience, you’ll live an enriched life. There may be a business owner out there who could use your experience and advice, or maybe a Girl Scout excelling in sales for the first time needs your encouragement to innovate and try something new.


GardeningFew things in this world are as satisfying as sinking your teeth into a tomato you’ve grown yourself or indulging in a home grown salad. Vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers can all be grown right on your balcony and ideas for gardening in uber small places are bountiful on Pinterest. A super easy alternative: succulents.

The Enriched Life at Dogwood Forest

The Life Enrichment Director at Dogwood Forest is there to personalize your experience so that you can build the life you want. There is always something going on and those Life Enrichment Directors are looking to hear from YOU. What are you interested in? Find out more about the enriched life here at Dogwood Forest.