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Having a hobby can have endless benefits, especially for seniors. Hobbies can help improve mood, socialization, memory and more, and Mustang Creek Estates of Frisco is excited to organize activities that recognize residents’ unique hobbies and interests. This initiative not only gives the seniors a sense of purpose, it also reminds them it is never too late to dust off an old skill or even learn a new one. In addition, it is another way to bring seniors together and increase socialization. One of the activities the residents will have a chance to participate in is an upcoming woodworking activity. This hobby is especially important to James Herink, an 84-year-old Army veteran who was diagnosed with dementia two years ago. Some of Herink’s wooden creations include a cross and altar for a local church, rocking horses for children, birdhouses, coasters and wall clocks. Dementia may have taken a lot of his memories, including those of his wife, but it hasn’t taken away his enthusiasm for crafts, especially woodwork.

“When my siblings and I were growing up, my dad was known as the ‘handyman’ in our community, and people from the area would turn to him for help and repairs with all kinds of wooden art, furniture, and more.” said Diane van Holsbeke, Herink’s daughter. “It is comforting to know that he still has memories of a hobby that has brought him so much joy over the years. He has always been such a wonderful and friendly person, and we are thrilled he will have the opportunity to socialize with other residents who share this interest.”

Herink inherited his artistic talent from his father, who enjoyed crafts as well. After spending his childhood learning from his father, he later served in the Army during the Korean War, taking his hobby with him. Afterward, he worked for an air conditioning and heating company in Iowa before moving to Texas when he was transferred in 1977. Herink has three children and nine grandchildren and was married for 52 years. Of his three children, one of his daughters inherited his artistic talent and penchant for woodcrafts.  

“After I saw my dad could no longer do what he loved, I began to make wooden crafts for him to enjoy,” said Carolann Johnson, Herink’s daughter. “Since he was diagnosed with dementia a couple years ago, it hasn’t been easy on us. He is having trouble remembering our family members and it is heartbreaking to watch this illness take over our dad.”

Several recent studies emphasize that creative activities have a positive impact on the lives of older adults. One of the activities proven to help keep seniors’ minds busy, prevent depression and spark feelings of joy is participation in the arts.

“It is heartwarming to see James’ eyes light up when he starts working on a project,” said Beth Babcock, executive director at Mustang Creek Estates of Frisco. “Our team works hard to come up with activities that are not only fun but are also engaging and beneficial to our residents. We are excited to continue to look for ways to highlight their hobbies and interests.”

Mustang Creek Estates – whose mission is to provide seniors with high-quality residential-style assisted living and memory care at an affordable price – has additional locations in Allen, Burleson and Keller. Recently, Mustang Creek Estates opened its newest senior living community in Sachse.

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