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#CareCollective > 11 Things Old People Like To Do For Fun

11 Things Old People Like To Do For Fun

Elderly games

Estimated Reading Time: 12 minutes

A typical misconception about elderly people is that they are bored and don’t do much else other than play bingo and watch TV.

However, in reality elderly people like to have as varied a lifestyle as they are able to; from visiting friends and family to enjoying outdoor activities, exploring new places and dancing the night away.

In this article, we look at the top 11 things old people like to do for fun - and some may surprise you!

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11 things that old people like to do for fun:

  1. Play games
  2. Spend time with family and friends
  3. Exercise
  4. Gardening
  5. Art classes
  6. Day trips
  7. Live music
  8. Spa days
  9. Hiking
  10. Dancing
  11. Scrapbooking

1. Play Games

Despite not being as young as they used to be, elderly people still love to indulge their inner child by playing games.

From traditional card games and board games to modern games played on games consoles or smartphones, grandparents like to play just as much as their grandchildren.

Consoles like the Nintendo Wii also allow older people to ‘play’ games without needing to be super mobile.

Our gifts for grandma article will give you some inspiration around activities for older adults.

Some of the best games for older adults to play include:

  • Trivia games
  • Sudoku
  • Word puzzles
  • Bingo
  • Chess
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Cards
  • Solitaire
  • Scrabble

Old people playing cards in a park

2. Spend Time With Family and Friends

There are few things elderly people love more than the chance to see their family and friends. Whether it’s a day trip out with grandchildren, a coffee and a catch-up with an old neighbour, or joining in with a community event, socialising and relaxing with friends is beneficial for mental health, particularly if you live alone.

If you are planning a move to a care home and you’re concerned you won’t see your family and friends as much, why not ask the activity coordinator what sort of activities the home offers? This is a great way to bond and make new friends.

3. Exercise

Getting out and about to exercise is a wonderful way to have fun for people of all ages. By taking part in group exercise such as a walking group for over 50s, tai chi, yoga and water aerobics classes, elderly people can keep fit, take in some fresh air and even make new friends.

Exercising is so important for both physical and mental health, as well as being a good opportunity for older people who live alone to get out of the house during the week.

Some of exercise’s other benefits for older adults include:

  • More independence
  • Better balance
  • More energy throughout the day
  • Preventing and counteracting disease
  • Improved brain function

Chair yoga

Chair yoga is a low-impact exercise that improves muscle strength, mobility, balance and flexibility - all while being really fun! This form of yoga is excellent for older adults as it puts less strain on muscles, joints and bones than conventional forms of yoga.

4. Gardening

For elderly people with green fingers, gardening is a much-loved pastime. Whether it’s a small border in their back garden, helping to plant flowers and vegetables at their care home, or joining a gardening club in the community, not only does gardening offer fresh air and gentle exercise, but it’s fun to plan what to plant next and watch as the fruits of your labour grow.

Spending time outdoors in the sunshine provides a key source of vitamin D, which helps to promote healthy bones - just make sure you wear sun cream and a sun hat to protect your skin.

Two older women gardening together

Regardless of age, gardening can be a relaxing and stimulating pastime. There are loads of activities associated with gardening that older people may enjoy, such as:

  • Digging
  • Planting
  • Watering
  • Harvesting food and flowers
  • Sensory stimulation - smelling, touching, looking, listening and remembering
  • Other crafts and hobbies associated with plants

5. Art Classes

Another way for elderly people to have fun is to let their creative juices flow with an art class. From sculpting and modelling to life drawing, sketching and painting, there are so many different ways to get creative.

Just like children, old people might like getting their hands messy every once in a while, exploring different patterns and textures to create a real work of art. What’s more, painting and drawing can also be very therapeutic.

If you’re looking for a really easy way to get involved with art then check out Age UK’s online art classes!

There are also in-person art classes aimed at older adults across England. Some of these include:

Equal Arts in Gateshead

Simply Connect in Bromley

Pui Lee who operates across the North East of England

Poplar Union in Tower Hamlets

Elderly man painting

6. Day Trips

If your loved one doesn’t leave the house much, or they live in a care home, it’s likely that an outing or an excursion will make their day.

Depending on where they live and how mobile the person is, exploring the local area, visiting a museum or an art gallery, taking a trip to the coast, and adventuring in nature are all great options.

If you’re planning to take your loved one away for the day, why not pack a tasty picnic for lunch and document your trip with photos, videos, journaling or sketching to make it even more memorable!

7. Live Music

Although we tend to associate gigs with the younger generation, there’s no reason why older adults can’t enjoy live music! After all, just because someone is older, doesn’t mean they lose their personal taste in music.

Sit-down concerts make for an exciting evening, while gigs often offer seated tickets for those who can’t stand for long periods of time. Plenty of venues are wheelchair-friendly too.

If your loved one lives in a care home, the home may be able to arrange for some local artists to visit for an amazing music-filled event.

Group of people at outdoor concert

8. Spa Days

Self-care is becoming increasingly popular; from facials and head massages to manicures and beauty treatments. Elderly people who need a bit of TLC will surely love a spa day and a bit of much-needed pampering.

Lots of modern care homes even have an on-site hair and beauty salon, perfect for a quick pedicure or a relaxing hand massage. Not only is a trip to a spa fun, but it’s also incredible for wellbeing and mental health.

9. Hiking

If you’re still healthy and active enough in your old age to hike, we say go for it! There are a wealth of benefits to hiking, including building stronger muscles and bones, improving heart health, bettering your sense of balance, reducing anxiety and boosting mood - what’s not to love?

Exploring new walks and trails can also be fun and invigorating. To give your hikes variety, take plenty of breaks along the way to look for new trees, flowers, birds and wildlife. From coastal walks to national parks, there are so many exciting new places to discover.

Here are some of England’s best walks for older adults to enjoy:

Avalon Marshes in Somerset

In the heart of Somerset’s Levels and Moors, the nature reserves at Avalon Marshes are a great place for walkers to see a huge range of wildlife and habitats. Spanning 3,700 acres, there are plenty of gentle tracks and trails ideal for elderly walkers.

The trails around Westhay Moor are particularly suited to walkers of all fitness levels, thanks to well-maintained paths and very little elevation.

Peak District National Park

The Peak District National Park is renowned for spectacular scenery and an endless array of walking routes. While some are more challenging, there are walks available for everyone, including families, children and older adults.

The Long Causeway walk at Stanage offers stunning views, plenty of heritage and is accessible from Sheffield. This walk also includes a Disabled Ramblers route.

The Peak District

Chichester Harbour Route in West Sussex

The Chichester Harbour route is perfect for walkers, history buffs and admirers of architecture. Covering around nine kilometres, this route should take just over two hours to complete.

You’ll start at Fishbourne, which is home to the largest excavated Roman site in Britain - Fishbourne Palace. You’ll then cross the peninsula into the Saxon settlement of Bosham. This gorgeous route offers an insight into both the local culture and the wider area of West Sussex.

Kirkby Stephen and Eden Viaducts Trail in Cumbria

The Kirkby Stephen and Eden Viaducts Trail is regularly referred to as one of England’s best walks for older adults.

The Cumbria trail follows an old railway line over deep valleys, before giving hikers an insight into how important the Stainmore railway used to be. At the weekend, the museum and café are open, and restored steam trains can be seen at Kirkby Stephen East Station.

Kirkby Stephen

10. Dancing

Older adults enjoy dancing just as much as young people and with lots of different types to try, you’ll easily find styles of dance that suit people with reduced mobility or stamina. Swing dancing, ballroom dancing or ballet are great for mobility and mental health and give elderly people a chance to make new friends.

Care homes and local groups usually offer at least one type of dance, so be brave and give it a try! You could soon be an expert at the hand jive, the Charleston and the cha-cha-cha.

Our new research has found that in the run-up to Strictly Come Dancing, more older adults are interested in starting dance classes than ever before - with online searches surging:

Search Term How Much More Are People Searching For It?
’Dance workout for seniors’ + 200%
’Dance exercise for seniors’ + 75%
’Easy line dances for seniors’ + 40%
’Ballroom dancing for seniors near me’ + 25%

Benefits of dancing for older adults

Dancing is a social hobby and can help reduce feelings of loneliness some people experience as they age. Most types of dance - such as ballroom and line dancing - involve group or partner dancing, encouraging you to form connections and friendships later in life.

As an aerobic activity, dancing is a fun way to get your heart rate up and stay active as you age. You can take it at your own pace and have a break when needed - making dancing great interval training that will help improve your overall fitness levels.

As we age, our muscle mass, bone strength and overall balance decrease. However, physical activity such as dancing promotes good balance and strength and can prevent the risk of falls, helping you to stay active and well as you age.

Above all, one of the best things about dancing is that you can do it from anywhere at any time - you can even dance from the comfort of a chair - all you need is your favourite music nearby.

Head of Activities at Loveday Chelsea Court Place, (London’s only senior living members club and dementia care specialists) has shared how Loveday&Co are supporting their members to reap the benefits of dancing:

“Dancing is one of the most wonderful activities for our members to participate in. It’s a great physical workout, but because we are dancing to music we love, it never feels like exercise! Dancing is good for the heart and soul, always uplifting and bringing joy to all. We love taking music requests from our members to get them dancing – this is great reminiscence and can evoke happiness and has the power to improve mood. Some of our favourite music to dance to is ABBA, The Carpenters (Top of the World always gets people moving and smiling!) and anything from the Andrew Sisters.”

These positive effects are similar to those felt through reminiscence therapy.

How to get involved in dance

You don’t need to leave your home to experience the benefits of dancing - you can start from the comfort of your own home.

With that being said, there are lots of social dance groups for seniors across the country. Why not see if your local community centre is running a dance class? A quick search online will find local dance classes for you to try.

Charities such as Age UK also have a list of activities and groups you can explore in your local area - this could be a great place to start your search.

People Dancing - The Foundation For Community Dance is another brilliant place to explore. Here, you’ll find links to community dance groups and projects around the UK that are aimed at the elderly.

Through Dance Near Me, you can take part in online dance classes, or you can enter your postcode to find in-person dance nearby.

Group of older people dancing

There are local dance groups for older adults throughout the UK. Some of these include:

Leap of Faith in Tower Hamlets, East London

Inspired not Tired in Lewisham

Dance City in Newcastle

Dacorum Community Dance in Hemel Hempstead

Xpress-Yourself in Dudley

11. Scrapbooking

By the time you reach your older years, you’ll likely have made so many fond memories throughout your life that you’ll find it difficult to remember them all! Scrapbooking is therefore a fantastic way for elderly people to spend a peaceful few hours looking back on all the good times.

All you need is a scrapbook, family photos and some glue, as well as any sequins, stickers or decorations you want to use. If you’re helping your elderly parent or grandparent to scrapbook, why not put on a favourite film or old music album to help them recall the memories - this is especially useful for those living with dementia and other related conditions.

Scrapbooking is also a good activity for young children or grandchildren to help out with too.

We’re on a mission to support individuals and their loved ones throughout each stage of their later living journey. For more information, check out everything Lottie has to offer.

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