Older Adults and Photography: Capturing Memories

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Much like other forms of art, photography is another unique way of telling a story and letting people capture moments. Whether your parents are passionate about photography or want to try something new to expand of their horizons, the impacts of photography on seniors are much more far-reaching than anticipated. Here are seven reasons seniors should go outside and get behind the lens in retirement. 

Can Taking Photos Help With Seniors’ Overall Health and Wellness? Explore 7 Reasons Why Elderly Photography Is A Great Hobby For Your Parents In Retirement

7 Reasons Seniors Will Love Photography

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1. Stimulates The Brain

Losing the sharpness of the mind is one of the aging challenges that many seniors face. The brain is a unique structure that needs constant stimulation to stay active and maintain peak performance. That’s why reduced mental activities post-retirement often put seniors at risk of expedited loss of cognitive declines, resulting in a higher risk of neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s. With the brain losing optimal speed and functions, seniors find it more difficult to concentrate and memorize things. According to research, learning photography skills can go a long way in upholding brain health. The activity can help finetune brain functions, boost brain power, and restore mental sharpness. Reviewing photos also helps wake up the brain’s ability to retain memories through image association, allowing seniors to strengthen their cognitive function. 

2. Promotes Physical Activity 

Engaging in physical activity is vital for longevity and vitality. Still, mobility challenges can cause seniors to avoid exercise due to intensified fears of being injured. Luckily, photography is a good excuse for seniors to go outside and get moving. Partaking in photography is an excellent alternative to traditional forms of exercise, allowing seniors to maintain their fitness levels more efficiently without the arduous, sweating part. Whether your parents venture deep into the wild or walk a few blocks down the stress to find inspiration, such an ever-changing environment gives seniors opportunities for physical activities by involving walking and hiking. Unlike regular exercise requiring extensive efforts, seniors can move their bodies at their own pace while becoming more in tune with nature. 

3. Busts Stress 

While numerous people think that seniors are no longer under a heavy load of stress after leaving the workforce, the truth can be far from it. For seniors, retirement means more freedom, but it also comes with many other issues and stressors around the corner. Health changes, limited mobility, financial fragility, and the loss of spouses and friends can make seniors’ stress levels skyrocket, especially when their natural defense toward stressors deteriorates with increasing age. Seniors can use photography to relieve stress and overcome negative emotions while escaping mundane routines and sedentary lifestyles. Snapping the most beautiful photos helps seniors preoccupy their minds, rediscover happiness, cultivate positivity, and foster more relaxation. Moreover, a generous dose of sun exposure and fresh air is a miracle cure for low mood and ongoing fatigue in distressed seniors due to the increased release of feel-good hormones like serotonin. 

4. Provides Mental Healing

Over the years, the rise of mental health issues is not breaking news to modern society. Following the pandemic and current economic crisis, everyone’s mental health seems to take a toll. However, discussions surrounding mental disorders frequently focus on younger demographics while ignoring the aging populations. It’s reported that seniors are more susceptible to developing anxiety, depression, and other types of mental disorders. They tend to suffer in silence or are too afraid to seek help. Many seniors turn to art therapy as a way to unwind and remedy their mental issues, with photography being one of them. Whether your parents master the art of photography or take quick snapshots for their Instagram, seeing the world through the lens is a fantastic coping mechanism for mental illnesses, provoking a deeper sense of mental healing and mindfulness. 

5. Curbs Boredom

Without the career and family responsibilities they had when they were younger, seniors often fall into boredom stemming from the same mundane tasks every day. Much research has shed light on the boredom epidemic among seniors, revealing a solidified connection between increased health risks and prolonged boredom. In other words, seniors living too long with boredom are more likely to develop age-related health problems with the aging process accelerating. Spending time producing some of the most beautiful photos with photography is a wonderful way for seniors to pass their time wisely and feel more entertained without relying on smartphones and TV. 

6. Induces Social Interactions

Playing with the camera can have profound effects on seniors’ social lives by letting them try exciting things that they have never tried before. Hanging out and discussing how to pick the best angles can allow for a natural flow in the conversation, facilitating stronger bonds between your parents and friends or family members. Most seniors are reluctant to share their art with others, but joining photography clubs is a delightful way for them to expand social circles, meet new people sharing the same interests, and learn photography tips and tricks. For seniors who are shy or have difficulty mingling with others, going out and snapping photos is a natural way to induce social interaction without feeling too forceful. 

7. Boosts Confidence 

Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook have given people the opportunity to showcase their talents to the world. When participating in photography, seniors can reap surprising benefits from sharing their most stunning photos online. It is excellent for boosting seniors’ confidence, giving them a life purpose, and fostering an immense sense of accomplishment after receiving compliments from friends, family, and online audiences. 

Tips To Get Seniors Started With Photography

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One of the best parts about photography is you don’t need to invest too much. Of course, lenses and cameras worth thousands of dollars produce beautiful photos. Still, assessing your parents’ needs before anything else is crucial. Ask them whether they are fine with a simple digital camera or want to advance their skill sets with a complex setup of a manual SLR and tripods, then follow through. 

Here are some other tips to help your parents kick-start their new hobby:

  • Set up the foundation by giving your parents photography books or online courses. 
  • Choose a camera that your parents are comfortable with. A compact camera is a good start for beginners as you can just point and shoot.
  • Deepen your research when buying photography gear and equipment.
  • Make sure the gear and equipment are comfortable, lightweight, and durable at affordable prices. Your parents can invest in more expensive gear later when they have stepped up their photography skills. 
  • Invest in a high-quality cleaning kit for expensive cameras and lenses.
  • Help your parents connect with a group of people sharing the same passion for photography. 

If you have questions about elderly photography and the benefits of photography for seniors or any topics discussed here, connect with us and learn more. 

At 12 Oaks, our team of caring professionals is dedicated to keeping residents safe, engaged, and connected to their families and friends while leading fulfilling lives. 12 Oaks Senior Living Communities are an ideal place to enjoy the encore season of life.

For questions or to schedule a personalized tour, don’t hesitate to contact us. 


Searching for senior living help? At 12 Oaks Senior Living Communities, we would love to learn more about your unique needs and the opportunity we may have to help you meet them. Our blog is one of the valuable resources we provide to inform and encourage seniors to lead fulfilling and thriving lives. Contact us today to schedule a visit.

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