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Ingleside at Rock Creek Blog

IRC Blog
Posted: Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Independent Living downtime: 5 activities when you’re in the mood for a quiet day

As you may have discovered, Independent Living provides a full calendar of programming for its residents. It’s actually one of the biggest advantages of senior living because not only is there something of interest for practically everyone, they can all be enjoyed within the community.

But what about those who prefer a quieter lifestyle or would like to include a few tranquil days into the mix? The right Independent Living community should have you covered there as well.

It’s just as important to take care of your psyche as it is your body. Remember that not all activities need to have an end goal or purpose, beyond being enjoyable. But it’s always nice to reap any side benefits as well.

If you find yourself looking forward to downtime or options when you’re not in the mood for group activities, consider these 5 possibilities:

1. Reading

For many people, there is nothing more relaxing than sitting down with a great book. It can whisk you away to another world. If you’re a fiction reader, you may get lost spending a day with wonderfully developed characters. If non-fiction is your preference, you might choose instead to learn about a different historical land or gain a new perspective on a political viewpoint.

One of the advantages of retirement is that you’ll finally have time to get to that reading list. As a top activity people turn to when they’re looking forward to a few hours of quiet, you can settle into a comfortable reading chair at home or stake out your favorite reading spot outside. 

Although you won’t get a workout while you’re reading, there are still plenty of physical and emotional advantages.


  • Stress reduction
  • Improved memory
  • Increased decision-making skills
  • May slow cognitive decline
  • Improved sleep

2. Board, card or computer games

Not only are games a fun way to occupy your time, but they can also activate your mind. Whether you’re playing Bridge or Poker, challenging your brain’s concentration provides a definite advantage, especially as we grow older. Computer games are also fun and have grown in popularity. Some can even be played with others online so there’s no worry if you don’t have a partner. But don’t give up on the more traditional board games you once enjoyed. They may be as or even more effective.

Onestudy evaluated the mental and cognitive capacities of participants over a long period of time. Beginning when they were 11 years old and later at ages 70, 73, 76 and 79, researchers found those who reported playing more non-digital games in their 70s experienced a less relative cognitive decline from the age of 11 until 70 and less decline between 70 and 79.

Beyond the enjoyment and socialization, if playing with others, some of the advantages include:


  • Improved attention
  • Slower decline with mild cognitive impairment
  • Helped maintain cognitive function
  • Increased decision making skills

3. Creative time

If you enjoy knitting, learning to play a musical instrument or bird watching and then building a feeder in the woodshop, the right communities support your participation. You should be able to find activities that get your heart rate pumping and when you’re ready for something less strenuous.

Research has discovered that solitary activities can keep your brain engaged and activate a sense of pleasure and accomplishment. Although not physically taxing, there are still advantages. Activities that involve motor skills can improve your hand-eye coordination. Those that require repetition can also invoke feelings of calm and provide benefits similar to meditation.

Spending time discovering your artistic passion may lead to gifted self-expression or uncovering a talent that hadn’t been recognized before or was almost forgotten. And if you don’t know what your creative niche is, remember that half of the fun is defining it, so explore.


  • May reduce the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment
  • Increased ability to focus
  • Improved dexterity and strength in hands
  • Provided feelings of accomplishment
  • Improved relaxation

4. Pampering yourself

Another great advantage of retirement living is that you can also start nurturing yourself, appreciated especially if you were the one always taking care of others. What would be your perfect day? Decide to spend time indulging in your physical and emotional self. How you choose to accomplish that is entirely up to you.


  • Improved relaxation
  • Reduction in anxiety
  • Relieved muscle pain
  • Improved mood
  • Stimulated circulation

5. Go for a walk

There may be no better way to refresh yourself than getting outside and moving. Walking can activate our senses and the fresh air is not only good for us physically but can often lift our spirits as well. It’s your choice whether you want to make it part of your exercise routine by picking up the pace or deciding on a more leisurely stroll to clear your mind.

Make sure you have a good pair of walking shoes. Don’t forget to enjoy your surroundings, both sights and sounds, and let your mind wander for great stress relief.


  • Improved heart health
  • Lowered blood sugar
  • Strengthened muscles and bones
  • Improved mood
  • Reduced feelings of anxiety

Ingleside at Rock Creek Independent Living

At our community, you’ll find all the activities have been designed with you in mind. We support our residents in staying physically active but we also recognize the need we all have for solitude and quiet time.

We think you’ll enjoy our year-round programs and events, fitness center and first-class amenities. You’ll also have the opportunity to take advantage of the beautiful outdoor setting of Rock Creek Park. And for those days when you’re looking for more activity, you’ll find you’re within easy access to Washington, DC.   

Call (202) 905-0018 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personalized tour today.

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