While few of us will ever be published authors, most of us can be writers. In fact, many seniors enjoy expressing themselves with words on paper even if they rarely did prior to retirement.
What motivates some people to become writers during retirement living? And how does the practice of writing benefit them—and even others as well?
Retirement living offers time for self-expression through writing
Many seniors who engage in writing do it to record memories of both momentous events and everyday activities that have left lasting impressions on their lives. Often they want to provide family members with highlights of their lives as part of a permanent family history.
“Life story writing captures the priceless and the poignant, the truly memorable and the quirkily remembered, the historic and the unique,” says journal therapist Kathleen Adams. “It leaves a legacy of living history for future generations.”
Older adults also may begin writing in retirement because they have more time to pursue creative ventures. For those with literary inclinations, that may take the form of creative writing, either fiction or poetry. Creative writing enables seniors to express their thoughts to others using both intellect and imagination.
Country Meadows founder and former PA Governor George Leader began writing poetry at age 70 and penned two published volumes titled “Healing Poems.” In his introduction, he wrote, “Poetry is an intimate way of expressing oneself. It’s capable of exposing one’s emotions and innermost feelings, and when one feels that he or she has achieved that, it brings great satisfaction.”
Writing can be therapeutic for seniors
Therapists encourage writing for some adults during retirement living because it can be cathartic. Some therapists use journal writing and creative writing to help seniors convey their feelings constructively and positively. Studies have shown that writing as self-expression can relieve stress and anxiety, restore calm and benefit mental and physical well-being.
“As we age, our creative abilities have the potential to grow and compensate for areas of loss, whether it’s physical, cognitive or emotional, says Marc Agronin, a geriatric psychiatrist and author of How We Age. “Creativity is not just an artistic skill but a way of thinking, engaging in relationships and problem-solving.”
Seniors might also want to put their thoughts and activities in letters to friends and family members. Letter writing is considered by many to be a lost art, which is unfortunate because letters can be preserved and read by family members for generations to come.
Creative opportunities abound at Country Meadows Retirement Communities
At our retirement living communities, we encourage residents to engage in areas of self-expression, and we provide an abundance of creative activities for them. In fact, we have a resident (a published author herself) who contributes to our blog with an inside perspective of living at Country Meadows titled “Through My Own Lens.” Our most popular activities are ones that keep minds and bodies active while providing a social outlet with fellow residents.
When choosing a retirement community, be sure to ask what activities are offered at the communities you visit. We would welcome your visit to any of our 10 Pennsylvania retirement communities or our Frederick, Maryland location. Please contact us to request information or to schedule a visit. We can show you our senior independent living communities as well as our assisted living or personal care homes. We also offer memory support and restorative care for those with chronic conditions or recovering from surgery or illness.