Seniors Should Get Social — and Off the Couch

By Michelle Seitzer / Posted on 07 February 2013

It’s especially difficult in the winter months, when the sun goes down by 5 p.m. and makes you feel certain your couch — in front of the TV — is the best place to be.

A recent MarketingCharts.com post indicates that boomers (50- to 64-year olds) and seniors (ages 65 and up) watch the most television, and not just at this time of the year. Check out the chart below for the hard numbers:

You may notice that there has been a decline among traditional TV viewing for all age groups, due in large part to the prominence of smart phones, tablets and other digital devices that allow consumers to view television in other ways. Another interesting finding from the Nielsen report: boomer women (ages 50 and older) watched the most television in the second quarter of 2012. How much TV? Just a little over 200 hours per month.

I’m not here to point fingers. A few weeks ago, we purchased our first flat screen television. We’ve definitely spent more time on the couch since then.

However, the incidence of depression among seniors (ages 65 and up) is great: over 6.5 million older adults suffer from it, says this article from eHow Health. Of course, contributing factors like chronic pain and illness, dementia, grief over losing family members and friends, and the loss of independence and certain capabilities (hearing, vision, mobility) is certainly reason enough for seniors to feel depressed. When you’re not feeling your best physically or emotionally (and when the weather is bad), it’s easy to slip into a reclusive couch potato kind of lifestyle, and that can be very dangerous for seniors given these risk factors.

Consider these alternatives to the tube:

  1. Play board games or cards with friends, family, or neighbors — either online or the old-fashioned way.
  2. Cook or bake, and invite a friend or relative to join you.
  3. Check into local volunteer opportunities.
  4. Walk the dog. If you don’t have a pet, offer to walk a neighbor’s or relative’s.
  5. Write a letter or read a book.
  6. Fold laundry or do the dishes by hand.
  7. Knit, crochet, or tinker; find a hobby to keep your hands — and mind — engaged.
  8. Skype with a grandchild or friend.
  9. Learn a new skill.


There are 2 Comments about this post

  1. Sarah says,

    These are all great tips to stay active during this winter season and even all year-round. Scientific studies have proven if you stay active in your later years, your life expectancy increases significantly (staying active through your whole life would be better). Not only does being active make you physically feel better, it also helps you feel mentally and emotional “better”. Thanks for sharing!


    on 07 February 2013 / 7:45 AM

  2. Sarah, thanks for your comment and for affirming the importance of staying active all-year round. I agree, you feel better mentally and emotionally when you’re active and physically well! You’re welcome; thanks for stopping by the blog and sharing your thoughts.


    on 07 February 2013 / 8:00 AM


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