Best activities and hobbies for older people

When your parent suddenly has more spare time, there is obviously more scope to do some of the things they have never had time to do before. Sometimes, however, it is hard to get the inspiration for new hobbies and activities

Here are some ideas:

On-line jigsaw puzzles

Traditional jigsaws are one way of keeping amused, but access to on-line jigsaws means your older relative can do a different jigsaw every day…or even more than one! It’s a great way to while away a few hours and keeps the brain agile. Have a look at JSPuzzles


This can be done at your parent’s home, or in a local art class. It can be painting, drawing, sculpture, or pottery. It does not matter how skilled your parent is, as there are opportunities for all levels. Just give it a go. The creative process is very absorbing and rewarding and it is a great way for your elderly relative to meet new people. There are also art books to help your parent get started. Art course

Art appreciation

Visiting galleries is interesting and a great way to experience culture from the past and present. There are classes running organised trips to galleries with like-minded people to enjoy the art together, or your ageing parent can just visit when and where they fancy.


Every town has a local cinema and new films are out all the time. The beauty of having more time on their hands is that your elderly relative can enjoy the pleasure of film during the day when cinemas are quieter.

Card making

This has become an increasingly popular hobby, as it’s very easy to start and cards can be as simple or complicated as skills allow. Best of all, it’s a lovely way for your parent to send wishes to all the family and friends. Easy card-making kits can be bought to get them started


Bowls truly is a sport for all, for regardless of age, sex or physical ability. It takes seconds to learn.There are over 2,500 clubs across the UK and it is a relatively cheap game compared to other sports, whether you choose to join a club or ‘pay and play’ at your local park. Find your nearest club HERE

Ten Pin Bowls

With bowling alleys all across the UK, why not try to get a strike. You can use the safety rails until you have mastered the technique. Find out more HERE


Your ageing parent can put a birdfeeder into their garden and watch the birds feed or be more adventurous and get out and about with bird watching clubs. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has all the information


This is a great hobby if your elderly relative has something they are particularly interested in, or have a couple of things they have already collected and want to acquire more. Collecting can be very interesting and rewarding.

Cookery classes

Whether your ageing parent is a good cook already, or is new to cooking, there are cookery schools all over the country, which can introduce them to new recipes and new ways to cook. They can specialise in cakes, or specific country cuisines and you and your relative  get to eat the end result!


Courses exist throughout the UK and can be very rewarding and social. Your older relative can put newly acquired skills to good use at home, or there are several good books which teach the basics of flower-arranging  or visit the Academy of Flowers


With the recent successful revival of dancing driven by shows such as ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and ‘Dancing on Ice’, learning to dance is big business. A great social experience and it keeps your parent fit as well . Have a look at available dance schools

Learning to use the internet and computers

If your ageing parent likes the look of new technology, but has never learnt how to use it, the internet is very easy once someone has shown them how. It opens up a whole new world of information and communication and they will be able to keep in touch easily with children and grandchildren via email. Local councils run education programmes often free of charge. We offer a great at home computer training service. For details, call now on 03333 441584

Build your own website

If your elderly relative can get the hang of the internet, why not build their own website and write their own blog. There are simple programmes online to start them off, such as WordPress


Is a great hobby to give your ageing parent great exercise and fresh air. They can grow their own flowers and vegetables, or create rock gardens and other features. If they do not have access to a garden, they can also apply to their local council for an allotment to tend

Back to school

There are millions of day, or evening classes all across the UK covering every topic imaginable, from languages to arts and crafts to technology. Or try the courses available at the Open University or U3A


If your elderly relative enjoys singing, encourage them to join a choir. There are hundreds of local choirs across the country. It’s fun and it’s sociable


There are many organised tours available for older people to travel to all regions of the world. Your parent can meet new friends and have great new experiences without doing it alone.


Great exercise and plenty of fresh air, your ageing parent can play golf alone, or with friends, at a club, or at the driving range for half an hour.


Great for maintaining suppleness and flexibility, whilst helping relieve bad backs and other postural problems. Yoga can help the older person feel fitter and healthier You can find yoga near you here


Similar to Yoga, Pilates helps your elderly relative maintain core strength and flexibility and is good for back pain.


Antiques items and their history are fascinating. Your ageing parent can investigate them in museums and via specialist antique shops across the country.


Pets are great companions and stress-relievers. A dog will get your parent out of the house regularly and a cat will keep them company at home. If both of those sound like too much hard work, they could consider a home aquarium. Many garden centres and pet shops sell fish.

Music Lessons Online

It’s possible to continue playing an instrument or learn a new one, from piano, violin, brass, accordion, flute, saxophone, oboe and cello to taking singing lessons. You can find more information here

Start their own group

If your ageing parent enjoys any of the above activities or indeed, some other form of hobby, why not persuade them to organise a group of people to do it together, or help them to organise it? Many people, including our own mothers, have begun groups of like-minded people, who meet regularly to share their hobby.

Other Sources for organised hobbies

  • Local council web sites
  • Local libraries
  • Craft shops


  1. Occupational Therapy for the ageing | My Ageing Parent says:

    June 11th, 2012 at 12:47 pm (#)

    […] Advising on participating in a favourite hobby […]

  2. Happy people live longer | My Ageing Parent says:

    June 14th, 2012 at 2:00 pm (#)

    […] a great way to socialise and meet new people, as is developing a new hobby, or even starting your own craft or walking group. Gardening is a great activity, which keeps your […]

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