PHI Spark (No. 6)


A Support Group Show and Tell: Invite Members to Talk about their Hobbies

Remember “Show and Tell” in elementary school? Here we are, decades later, still talking about that experience; maybe even able to remember what we brought to class to share with our young classmates.

Why not revive the tradition of “show and tell” at a support group meeting? Organize a gathering where members volunteer in advance to describe a favorite hobby to the group and provide an audio or visual aid to illustrate.

A hobby is defined as “a pursuit outside one's regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation.”  Hobbies are good for our health. And that’s what post-polio support groups are all about – promoting health and wellness among its members.

An article by Unlimited Care Cottages Team (Jun 22, 2017) explains why hobbies are good for us:


Better than crossword puzzles or other purely mental stimulants, creative activity is good for our brain. With a hobby, we are typically doing something creative with our hands. Whether gardening, bird watching, crocheting, or painting, learning a hobby engages our mind and body. Having a creative outlet is also great for managing stress and frustration.


Diet and exercise remain important to healthy living, no matter what our age. However, exercise becomes more and more difficult with the challenges in mobility and strength that come with aging. Instead, it’s good to try to incorporate as much movement into our daily activities as possible. Walking while talking to a friend is one example. Another great way to build in movement is a hobby, even if it’s just walking around the house or to the backyard.


Choosing a hobby, we can do with others is a great way to have frequent, meaningful social interaction. It’s so important to have fulfilling interaction with other people as we grow into our later life years. Much of life slows down and we have newly found time. Why not fill it with other people as much as we can? A group hobby is one great way to do it.


Learning a hobby can give us goals to work toward and achieve. We can track progress and celebrate success. It’s so important to keep engaging in some kind of personal development to maintain and build self-confidence. Again, a hobby is great way to do that.


Depression is a serious issue for many seniors, especially after suffering the loss of a spouse or another traumatic event. People don’t visit as often as they once did. Inactivity breeds loneliness and loneliness turns easily to depression. Some required medications also increase feelings of loneliness and depression. Having social interaction, personal development, and an outlet for creative expression are all important in preventing or combatting depression. Learning a new hobby wraps all this up into one activity.

What are people in your support group doing for fun? Maybe someone crochets or knits. Someone else may fish. Another member might garden.

Here’s how a meeting could be organized:

  1. Before the next meeting, ask members to be prepared to tell the group about their hobby or interest of choice.

  2. Ask them to bring in an example of what they have done – an artifact, photo or other audiovisual aid to show/pass around.

  3. Then let them know they will be asked to explain their hobby/interest to the group:
    • What is it?
    • When did they begin doing it?
    • How did they first become interested in it?
    • Is it costly?
    • Anyone else involved?
    • Describe what they do/have done in detail.
    • Would they recommend the hobby to others in the group?
    • Is there any other hobby they would like to learn more about, perhaps from a fellow group member?

This meeting plan would work especially well via Zoom. Members could show and tell or even demonstrate from the comfort of home and wouldn’t have to transport anything to an in-person gathering.

The most important message for the group: “Just have fun!”

Read more about hobbies and polio survivors here: