When you are helping out seniors, you might ask yourself, what can seniors do to keep busy? It can be difficult for seniors to find activities to keep busy, especially when they have mobility issues. Sometimes you need some helpful inspiration for fun activities for seniors.
In this article, you’ll find 30 activities for seniors to keep busy. All the activities I’ll share a both great to do for seniors with or without mobility issues. Let’s get inspired!
1) Start Learning New Things
One of the easiest things you can do as a senior to keep busy is learning new things. Keep learning is not only fun, but it’s also beneficial for your health, according to this article on Harvard Health Publishing.
I love learning new things. One of the platforms I like most is MasterClass. On the MasterClass platform, you can follow video classes from the world’s best and most successful people. There are over 100+ classes in different categories like cooking, writing, sports, and so on. Some famous teachers are Gordon Ramsay, Samuel L. Jackson, Brandon McMillan, Jessie Krebs, etc.
You can get full access to the MasterClass platform by signing up for an annual membership that costs you only 180 USD a year. That’s less than 1.80 USD per class! The best thing is that they keep adding new, inspiring classes every month, so you get even more value for your membership!
Using the MasterClass platform is easy for both seniors and seniors with mobility issues. The only thing you really need is a device and a working internet connection. You can even download the classes to your device so that you can watch them later when you’re not connected! I genuinely feel it’s the perfect platform when you want to learn new things and prefer to stay at home.
2) Learn A New Language
The article on Harvard Health Publishing that I mentioned before describes that you best learn new things when you get out of your comfort zone. Learning a new language can be a great way to stay busy and get out of your comfort zone.
When you start your first conversation in a foreign language, it might make you uncomfortable. You maybe feel a bit scared to make mistakes, but it’s also funny, and you’re learning!
I love to learn new languages so that I can easily connect with people during traveling. Also, when learning a new language, I feel I get a better understanding of the culture. We’re traveling to Portugal to stay there a while at the end of this year, so I’ll soon start with learning Portuguese.
I don’t like using books and following a class in a classroom to learn a new language. Being busy with all kinds of other things, I love to learn at my own pace. For seniors, this might work better as well. Yes, you need to get out of your comfort zone when learning new things, but learning at your own pace is always the best way to succeed. When it comes to language learning, I recommend using the application Babbel, which is one of the most trusted language applications available. I use +Babbel myself and really love it! You’re actually learning a new language without the feeling that you are following a class. The lessons are fun and engaging, which makes it easy to remember things.
3) Find A Hobby
Seniors often struggle to find a new hobby. However, a hobby is a perfect way to stay busy. The struggle for seniors to find a new hobby is probably related because they forgot about the things they like doing. Many people that are first retiring struggle with this as well.
When you’ve worked at a company for many years, most people didn’t have time for a hobby. So, when you have more leisure time in retirement as a senior, you need to re-find what you like doing to find a new hobby. One easy way to do this is by trying out different things.
Trying out different hobbies, like one each month, is a great way to stay busy as a senior. To get inspiration for hobbies, I love using Cratejoy. Cratejoy is a craft subscription service where you get a hobby craft delivered at home every month. It’s literally the easiest way to find a hobby as a senior and very easy to use when you have mobility issues. You can sign up for Cratejoy here.
4) Start gardening
Gardening has many health benefits for seniors. When you start gardening, you are physically active, which is, according to the CDC, one of the most important things you can do for healthy aging. Also, gardening takes place outside, so your Vitamin-D levels will rise, which in turn help you to feel more energized and happy.
Most gardening takes place in a group, for example, when you start gardening in a retirement community. This way, gardening also helps you to stay socially active, which is important to avoid loneliness.
Gardening is an activity that seniors who are still physically fit and seniors with mobility issues can do to stay busy. When you have mobility issues, you can use gardening tools (available on Amazon) to get around the gardening. Also, starting a herb garden can be a great idea when you have mobility issues. A herb garden needs less physical work, which is easier to do.
5) Get A Pet
Pets are great for seniors to keep busy. Pets need all kinds of attention, so getting a pet is the perfect thing a senior can do.
Let’s say you get a dog as a senior, maybe a puppy. The puppy needs to get training first. Also, you need to go out with the puppy several times a day. It needs attention, just like a human. But when you bond with the dog, you’ll have a buddy for the rest of your life. So, pets are not only great to keep busy, but it’s also a perfect way for seniors to avoid loneliness.
When you have mobility issues as a senior, it’s still great to get a pet. Maybe you can get a service dog, which can help you with everyday activities. Still, when having a service dog, you need to give it attention, just like with every other dog, which helps you keep busy, of course.
5) Try Out A New Sport
Doing sports is important for everyone. Like I mentioned earlier, physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for healthy aging. Also, when you have mobility issues.
If you’re still fit as a senior, you can easily try out all kinds of sports. Maybe you’ve played basketball when you were younger and want to do this again, just go for it!
Swimming is a sport that can be great for people in a generally healthy condition or when having mobility issues. My mom has mobility issues. She has had trouble walking since an accident many years ago. However, she still goes to a public swimming pool once or two times a week.
6) Start Volunteering
Volunteering is a great way to keep busy as a senior. Also, you get involved in the community and meet a lot of new people while volunteering.
Volunteering is an activity many seniors do to avoid loneliness and feel they need to help other people. Seniors who want to start volunteering can best look at their community center first and ask if there’s a volunteering position available. Maybe they can help during events etc.
Read more: Why Do Retirees Volunteer?
7) Spend Time Outdoors
Being outside is great for your health. It helps with getting enough vitamin D if the sun is shining, of course. Also, it just gets you energized. When I don’t get outside for a day, I just don’t feel good. I love to go for a walk in the park or going to the beach. It’s probably also the reason why I love camping, you just spend so much time outdoors.
A great activity to do outdoors is hiking. Let’s find out more about that;
8) Start with Hiking
Hiking is a great activity for seniors to keep busy. It’s probably not the best activity when you have mobility issues, but when you are generally fit, you can easily start hiking.
When you go hiking, you are outside in nature. Most hiking takes place in natural parks on hiking trails. So, for a good hike, you leave the urban area. Hiking is perfect because you can do it at your own pace. Most people hike in groups, so it’s also beneficial for your social interaction. Learn more about the benefits of hiking in my article, The Complete Guide Why Hiking Is Good For Seniors
9) Start Reading Books
I love reading books. As a senior, you have probably enough time to read books. It’s an activity that keeps you busy, and both are easy to do for seniors with and without mobility issues.
When you have trouble with your eyes, which makes reading more difficult, many helpful tools are available to solve the problems. When reading is actually not possible, you can also start listening to audiobooks.
My grandfather, for example, he’s blind for a few years but still loves ‘reading.’ He always listens to audiobooks using his smart home device. It helps him to keep busy. Sometimes we read the same book together so we can talk about it just like in book clubs.
10) Join A Bookclub
If you love reading and love to socially interact with other people, you might want to join a book club to keep yourself busy. A book club is nothing more than a group of like-minded people discussing the same book they decided to read. It’s fun to talk about books with other people because this way, you get different perspectives about the book and learn from others.
11) Listen To Podcasts
When you don’t want to read books but still love to listen to things, you might want to start with listening to podcasts to stay busy.
Podcasts are basically recorded interviews with a minimum of 2 people, where they discuss a specific subject. For example, how seniors can keep busy. You can find podcasts about all kinds of subjects.
It’s fun and easy to listen to podcasts, and you can do it everywhere you go.
When you use a smartphone, you can easily find podcasts using the standard podcast device, for example, on your iPhone. Most shows allow you to download episodes for when you’re offline.
12) Play Boardgames
Do you love playing board games? Find yourself a buddy and start playing a game once a week. It’s a great way to keep busy as a senior. Maybe you’re helping a senior with keeping busy, so ask them if they love to play board games. YOu can discuss different games to play so that you can vary and don’t get bored of playing the same game every week.
Boardgames, and playing games in general, is, of course, a fun thing to do. But it is also great to train your brain and slow down cognitive aging. Because when playing a board game, you’re constantly learning and adapting to a situation, which is great for brain training.
13) Start Virtual Travel
Traveling isn’t what it used to be since the Covid pandemic. It’s still able to travel, but a whole new dimension has developed virtual traveling. We were actually a kind of early adopters when it comes to virtual traveling. Even before Covid! Since 2017 we’re traveling the world, and in the first years of our world trip, we focused on making travel videos for our YouTube channel. It was a fun experienced. You can find out the channel here.
Virtual travel is great for seniors to keep busy. It’s an activity both for seniors with disabilities and seniors who are still fit. You can go everywhere where you want, just from your couch or lazy seat. With the high-quality videos today, you’ll have a unique experience.
One of the best ways to start virtual traveling is by using a Virtual Reality application and a Virtual Reality System (available on Amazon).
14) Join A Senior Community
Being part of a senior community helps seniors to keep busy. Senior communities are often the most active communities out there. Sometimes even more active than regular church communities.
My parents-in-law live in a retirement community, and they love it! It’s fun to see how the seniors in their community look out for each other. When someone isn’t feeling well, the neighbor helps out with groceries, cooking, etc.
An active senior community is perfect for keeping busy, but it also helps fight loneliness. You meet many other people within the community where you can share your activities, which helps seniors have fun together.
Read more: 10 Benefits Of Living In A 55+ Community
15) Start Writing
Many seniors want to start with writing. However, most of the time, they don’t know where to start or think that they’re too old to become a writer. No one is actually ever too old to become a writer. I explain this in more detail in my article You CAN Become A Writer Later In Life! (Read This)
Writing is a unique and mindful experience that helps you keep busy. When I’m writing, for example, for this website, I’m always so focused that I forget about the other things around me. It helps me clear my mind and be in the present moment. It’s actually very mindful now that I think of it.
When you know any seniors who want to start writing but don’t know how I recommend giving them an annual membership for MasterClass. This way, they can follow very helpful MasterClasses from the best writers in the world.
The best thing about becoming a writer is that you can do this activity easily from your home. So it’s perfect for seniors with mobility issues as well. Everyone can do it!
16 – 30 Other Activities For Seniors to Keep Busy
Let’s take a look at more inspiring and fun activities for seniors to keep busy in the following list;
- 16 Babysit Your Grandchildren
- 17 Start Writing
- 18 Learn To Play A Instrument
- 19 Follow A Cooking Class
- 20 Start With A Craft (Tinker)
- 21 Spend More Time With Family
- 22 Become A Coach
- 23 Start Blogging
- 24 Start A YouTube Channel
- 25 Learn Breadmaking
- 26 Start with Woodworking
- 27 Start Painting
- 28 Build Miniature Houses
- 29 Start with Diamond Painting
- 30 Go To The Movies
The Benefits Of Keeping Busy For Seniors
Several studies showed that busy seniors had better cognitive function. In other words, their brains were more fit than seniors that didn’t have a busy schedule. Scientists think that this is because having a busy schedule helps you get out of your comfort zone and stay active.
We all know that an active lifestyle is related to healthy aging. Other studies showed that seniors with broad social interactions are often more active. Seniors that focus on training their brains, for example, learning new things, can slow down cognitive aging.
When we want to know the benefits of keeping busy as a senior, we only have to look at the world’s blue zones. Areas in the world where people get much older than average, often in a healthy way. The blue zones have the most centenarians in the world (people of an age of 100+). Learn more about the blue zones and their lifestyle in this book; The Blue Zones, Second Edition: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest (available on Amazon)
The lifestyle in the different blue zones is similar, and next to a healthy diet, involvement in their community, the seniors and elderly have all a busy schedule. It helps them to focus on their purpose in life and stay fit. So, when a senior doesn’t have a lot of activities planned, it might get time to focus on creating a more busy schedule!