How Do You Make Retired Parents Happy? 10 Powerful Ways

You want to make your retired parents happy, but you don’t know what to do or where to start. Perhaps they’re struggling with loneliness, depression, or they’re bored out our their mind. And that is why you might wonder how do you make retired parents happy?

You make your retired parents happy by reducing their stress about health and money, helping them discover new hobbies and activities, and making sure they have plenty of social interactions with other people and animals. Also, a positive daily routine and dose of fresh air help to keep people happy in general. And when your retired parents struggling at home you can help out with household activities and maintenance.

These are just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve listed 10 helpful ideas in this article to make your retired parents happy. So continue reading.

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1) Lower Their Bills

The number 1 stress source in retirement is finance. Do I have saved enough money for my retirement? Can I pay the (medical) bills later on? These are questions a lot of retirees ask themselves and stress over in retirement. And perhaps your parents do too. Well, stressing over money gets in the way of feeling happy.

So the first thing you can do for your parents is to lower their bills and take a little bit of that stress away. And by that, I don’t mean you have to pay their bills, but you can help them lower their bills so they have more room to breathe and to feel happy. And there is an easy way to do it: Billshark.

According to Billshark, 80% of people in America overpay on their monthly bills. So they created a service where they get you the best rates on monthly bills, and you don’t have to do anything. They deal with the providers and unwanted auto-renewed services. Which saves you a lot of time and stress too.

Savings are guaranteed and you can see how much you can save on your parents’ bills with their free savings calculator. Their service is backed by Shark Tank-star Mark Cuban and gets 4.9 out of 5 from the thousands of google reviews. Interested in what it can do for your parent’s bills? Use their calculator and see what you can save.

2) Apply Them For Fun Classes

You instantly feel happier when you have something fun to do in retirement, right? Now, before you go searching for fun things to do in retirement, I’ve got a great tip for you: MasterClass. It’s one spot with over 100 different fun online classes from the world’s best.

A membership to MasterClass gives your parents access to amazing classes such as Ron Finley teaches Gardening, Gordon Ramsay teaches Cooking, Serena Williams teaches Tennis, Ron Howard teaches Directing. And so many more. They can learn something new from world-leading experts in their field from the comforts of their own home at any place, anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

From cooking classes from the world’s best chefs, acting classes from famous actors, to science and business classes from experts in their field. The video streaming platform Masterclass is designed for any skill level and is very easy to use. Do your parents know how to use Netflix? Well, Masterclass is just as easy. Curious? Find out more about Masterclass here.

Also keep learning new things is so important for us humans. It nourishes our minds and gives us a feeling of accomplishment which is a great confidence booster. And Masterclass is a great platform for your parents to find something fun to do while learning new skills. I’ve gifted my parents a membership to Masterclass last Christmas and they absolutely love it.

3) Socialize More

The key to more happiness in retirement is socializing. When you stop working and retire you lose a lot of daily social interactions you got from your job. But we humans need social interactions to stay healthy and happy. This scientific study proves that loneliness has a worse impact on your health than smoking 15 cigarettes a day, being obese, and high blood pressure!

Therefore in retirement, it’s important to seek new ways to socialize. So, if you want your retired parents to be happy you need to encourage them to socialize more. It reduces stress, anxiety, and the chances of getting depression. And has the opposite effect: feeling happy and more positive about life.

You can spend more time with your retired parents but you can also support them to seek other ways to be social in retirement. I share a couple ideas below.

Social Activity Ideas For Retired Parents

  • Organize A Sunday Family Brunch
  • Regular video call with friends and family
  • Host A Game-Night
  • Join a club
  • Apply for a (parttime) job
  • Go on a family trip
  • Babysit grandchildren
  • Be a coach

4) Discover New Hobbies

Most retirees who are thinking about their retirement are looking forward to spending time on their favorite hobby. But not everyone has a retirement hobby from the get-go. They need to actively rediscover what they like in retirement.

If that’s applicable for your parent’s situation you can help them out to find a retirement hobby because once they have something fun to do they’ll instantly be happier. But where to start?

A way to discover a retirement hobby is actually rediscovering an old hobby. What did your parents like to do when they were a child? Chances are they still love to do it today, but perhaps in a different form. But the best way to discover what you like and don’t like is to try out all sorts of stuff.


And that is where the platform Masterclass is great at. With a Membership to Masterclass, you get access to all the classes as I mentioned earlier in this article. Your parents can try out all sorts of hobbies with Masterclass and learn awesome things on the way to their new favorite hobby.

They can get creative with the many art and music classes, put their brain to work with the many educational and science classes, and follow business classes if they’ve always had the dream to start a business. And with the many cooking classes (Italian, Mexican, French, BBQ, Japanese, etc) on Masterclass they can work with their hands which also has an extra benefit. Doing manual labor boosts your happiness.

Doing physical “work,” e.g., gardening, cooking, is a way for your parents to stay happy in retirement. Because working with your hands leads to greater job satisfaction and gives life more meaning. You are living in the moment and are connected with your environment which makes you forget about time and worries. It’s a quick way to feel better about yourself.

5) Give A Gratitude Journal

Harvard Medical School did research on positive psychology. And the research showed that practicing gratitude can increase happiness.

Actively being grateful forces you to do positive thinking and that leads to more positive emotions, improves health, and also builds better and strong relationships. Gratefulness helps you to appreciate the status of your life now and takes you away from your focus on the past or future. Because when we live or think about the future or past we can’t feel happiness.

Keeping a gratitude journal is a great way to practice gratitude. And if there is nothing you can do about your parent’s finances, health or other life circumstances to making them happy, giving a gratitude journal is an excellent idea. You give them a tool to be more happy with they already have.

This 5-minute gratitude journal is a best-selling item on Amazon. It promotes itself with “A happier you with 5 minutes a day”. This journal is filled with inspiring quotes, daily affirmations, and coaches your parents to work on prioritizing their day, 3 amazing things, and self-reflection.

6) Help Reduce Their Stress

If you’re stressed out, you can’t feel happy. It’s that simple. But it’s not that simple to not feel stressed out. As we all know too well. So sometimes you need some help to get out of your head and forget about your worries.

Are your parents stressed about something? Perhaps you can talk to them and see if there are solutions to their problems that you can help them out with. Maybe they haven’t talked to you about it, because they don’t want you to worry or for other reasons. But getting into that conversation where they share their worries and problems will help your parents feel heard. Sharing doesn’t make the problem go away but it feels much lighter, as if the problem is cut in half.

Also, maybe you have a solution for their problem they didn’t even think about. So getting into a converstation about it is a good start, but there are also other ways to reduce stress.


One of the best ways to reduce stress is to practice mindfulness. Being mindful is focusing on the present moment and being aware of thoughts and feelings, without interpretation or judgment. It’s a skill that can help your parents to reduce stress and feel calmer whatever life throws at them in retirement.

There are all sorts of mindfulness practices but the most common one is meditation. It’s sitting or lying down comfortably while focusing on the breath. As thoughts and feelings arise, you try not to engage but softly put your attention back to breathing. It gives you a sense of calm and peace that you can carry out through the rest of the day. And if you meditate regularly you become better at managing stress. Plus it benefits your overall emotional well-being as well.

Well, now that we established what meditation is and what it can do for you. You might wonder, how can I introduce this to my parents? Well, as I mentioned earlier in this article Masterclass has so many awesome classes that are great for your parents to continue learning, explore hobbies and have something fun to do. And Masterclass also has a class about Mindfulness and Meditation. Taught by Jon Kabat-Zinn. All the more reason to gift your parents a Membership to Masterclass. He teaches the fundamentals of mindfulness and shares guided meditations and how to handle stress better.

7) Redecorate Their Home

Your parents are at home more often in retirement. Therefore it’s important that their house gives them a happy feeling. You feel more comfortable and at peace when you live in a peaceful environment.

So a great way to make your parents happy is to make their home a happy place. This can mean help cleaning up (regularly) because a clean house gives a clear mind. You can organize their closet with storage bags. And help them to declutter, because less stuff also means less stress. You can organize a garage sale to sell stuff they don’t use anymore. This creates a great opportunity for them to earn some extra money but also meet new people.

Or you can go a bit further and redecorate a room or a couple of rooms in your parent’s house. You can start with a couple of new accesories to add some new color and have a different look and feel to it. Or you can take it to the next level and paint the walls and order new furniture for a whole new fresh start in retirement.

8) Sign Up For Volunteer Work

One of the best ways to feel better about yourself is to help others. You feel fulfilled when you spend your time in a meaningful way. It’s the main reason why retirees love to do volunteer work. It not only makes you feel happy, but it also keeps you busy in different ways; socially, mentally, and physically.

When your parents struggle with what to do in retirement and feel useless, then you can give the suggestion to sign them up for volunteer work. Spending time in a different environment gives them inspiration and fresh energy. Also interacting with a younger generation keeps your parents young at heart.

If they’re a bit hesitant you can help them find the best volunteer job for them. Besides their local community center or church, you can check out: National Community Service, Habitat For Humanity, or Volunteer Match.

9) Give A Self-Care Gift

Anyone will feel better after a warm bath, listening to their favorite music, or reading a good book. Practicing self-care reduces stress and anxiety. Enough me-time is crucial for mental health. And that’s why a self-care gift can be a good way to make your retired parents happy.

You can imagine that after working hard for many years or always taking care of others you forget to take care of yourself a bit. It wasn’t a priority, so now in retirement, you can remind them that it’s time to be selfish in a good way. A gift is a sign of support and encouragement to not forget about me-time. And do the small things that make them happy on an everyday basis.

It’s very personal which gift is best for your parents, because everyone’s interests are different. But to give you some inspiration below are a couple of great self-care fifts for your parents.

Self-care Gift Ideas For Your Mom

Self-care Gift Ideas For Your Dad

10) Disconnect From Internet And TV

According to the Time Use Survey of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) seniors at 55 and older spend around 4,5 hours per day watching TV. Plus they didn’t even count the many hours scrolling down the internet. That is a lot of hours wasted on a passive activity that doesn’t make you truly happy. Am I right?

Now we all enjoy binge-watching Netflix from time to time. But doing it every day doesn’t make you feel better. It doesn’t keep you energized to make the most out of your retirement. Also, watching the news can make you feel depressed, and scrolling through Facebook and other social media only makes you think that the grass is always greener somewhere else. And ”Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt.

If this is a pattern you see with your retired parents you can try to get them away from the internet and TV for a day or more. Disconnecting from social media and unplugging helps to focus on the important things in life. It allows to be more present and happiness can only be felt in the present moment.

Now before you throughout their TV you can consider going camping together for a couple of days and turning off your phones. Or make it a challenge of “how long can you go without your phone or TV”. It can open their eyes when they’ve experienced what it’s like to not spend as much time on aimless activities and what it is to enjoy the simpler things in life. Showing the way and making them aware of their behavior can contribute to their overall happiness in retirement.

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Kirsten Veldman

Since 2017, my husband and I have been location-independent retirees. With hundreds of articles written, I'm passionate about helping other retirees!

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