The hobbies that keep these seniors vibrant and healthy

Created for Revera

She’s one of Hollywood’s most beloved icons and a true onscreen legend, but Diane Keaton has recently garnered a whole new legion of young followers, thanks to her stylish pastime. The Oscar-winner’s outfit photos and pop culture references have earned her over two million followers on Instagram, catapulting her to social media superstardom. “Of course I’m surprised,” says the Godfather actress of her popularity on the platform.

Diane, who turns 76 this month, recently discussed why taking up hobbies in your later years is so important. “You can get lost without the patterns of your life. It’s about opening up new patterns,” she says. A recent poll commissioned by Revera found that 43 per cent of Canadian seniors would like to spend time trying new hobbies in retirement. Hobbies come with considerable health benefits, including better sleep, less stress and a more fulfilling social life.


A post shared by Diane Keaton (@diane_keaton)

Here’s how every day seniors are using their golden years to explore new passions and fall back in love with old pastimes, just like the world’s most celebrated celebrities.


Susan Sarandon

Susan’s unconventional pastime has put an extra bounce in the 75-year-old grandmother’s step. “You don’t get hurt, it’s not expensive, it’s really good for your mind and it’s one of the few sports that you can play until you die,” says the Blackbird star, who is a long-time ping-pong enthusiast. Susan has founded a franchise of ping-pong bars called SPiN, and she even shared her passion on the big screen while starring in 2014’s Ping Pong Summer.

Sally Norman, resident at The Renoir Retirement Residence in Newmarket, Ontario

Sally, a talented vocalist, joined the Sweet Adelines in 1969—a worldwide organization of women singers. After moving to The Renoir Retirement Residence in December 2019, Sally was searching for a way to continue her lifelong passion. “Singing has been my life and salvation through many ups and downs along the way,” she says. Sally loves to sing for her fellow residents and is sometimes accompanied by other members of the Sweet Adelines.


Sir Paul McCartney

Although Paul showed artistic promise as a teenager, the singer’s life took a different direction when he shot to worldwide stardom with The Beatles. In the early ’80s, Paul returned to painting once again, and the art form has since become the 79-year-old’s greatest pleasure. “I really just do it for my own enjoyment,” he says. “There’s so much to learn—that’s half the fun.”

Randall Jordan, resident at the Chatham Retirement Resort by Revera in Chatham-Kent, Ontario

Moving to the Chatham Retirement Resort by Revera in fall 2021 has given Randall a new lease on life. “I was bogged down with everyday tasks, like cooking and cleaning,” he recalls. “But I eliminated all that, and now have time to do what I want.” Randall, who spent many years as a social worker, is writing a book about a child with Asperger’s syndrome. The inspirational senior is also applying for his master of social work at Western University.

Dame Judi Dench

The Cats star hit headlines after teaming up with grandson Sam to show off some impressive choreography on TikTok during the COVID-19 lockdown. “I had to rehearse all those moves. Don’t just think they come naturally,” joked Judi, who also credited the app for keeping her busy during the uncertain period. “[TikTok] saved my life,” she said, during a time when “every day is so uncharted.”


Photo © Dennis Ducklow

Bev and Ralph Milton, residents at Dorchester Retirement Residence in Kelowna, British Columbia

Bev was first inspired to paint by her grandmother whose walls were filled with watercolours of places she had lived. As an adult, Bev has done her fair share of travelling—to the U.S., the Philippines, the 

U.K. and Europe—giving her plenty of inspiration for her artwork. She continues to paint today and the door of the Revera apartment where she and her husband Ralph live features a revolving series of her acrylic paintings.

A lifelong writer, Ralph has written poetry, newspaper articles and 20 books. His latest book, Well Aged, highlights Ralph and Bev’s experiences navigating retirement living during the pandemic and celebrating life in your platinum years. “Research and experience have shown that seniors in love with life also live longer. The happier you are, the longer you live. It is possible to have your cake and eat it too,” says Ralph.

Advice from the experts at Revera

Dr. Rhonda Collins, Chief Medical Officer, Revera

“We’ve all seen the impact of isolation and loneliness over the past year and a half. It’s astounding and sad to me to see how quickly people can decline cognitively and functionally when they’re not getting social connections. Social isolation is associated with an increased risk of death, dementia and depression, as well as high blood pressure and diabetes. Conversely, regular physical activity improves both physical and mental health. It’s simple things like walking with friends or cycling, doing yoga or playing golf. These are not just great physical activities—if you do them with somebody else, they’re really great social activities as well.”

John Beaney, Senior Vice-President, Retirement, Revera

“Retirement today is a very different experience from anything that’s gone before. Retirement homes have wide-open, bright spaces that offer a whole host of amenities, including art studios, cinema rooms, salons and spas. Some have pools, golf simulators and dog-walking areas. They give seniors the chance to live the life that they want, doing the things that they love to do. You really get to switch up life and look at the things that you want to do, rather than the things you have to do. Let’s face it: Isn’t that why we all want to retire one day?”

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