Friends & family
Read our guides for friends and relatives who are helping elderly parents or loved ones to find a retirement home, downsize or move closer to family.

10 Things to do with elderly parents to prevent loneliness

Are your parents retired, bored and lonely? Read our expert McCarthy Stone guide to things to do to help them turn a lonely retirement into a happy one.

10 Things To Do With Elderly Parents To Prevent Loneliness
Friends and family
Posted 05 October 2023
Share this article:

What can I do with my elderly parent?

If work has been a big part of your parent’s life for many years, then retirement can take some adjustment and they may need support to stop them feeling lonely and bored. But having a happy retirement doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes it’s as simple as helping them to create a calendar full of regular events to look forward too. This guide gives you inspiration for an array of things to do with your elderly parents.

5 things to do with elderly parents in the home

You don’t need to go far from home for inspiration. Here are some ideas for things to do with elderly parents to keep them from feeling retired, bored and lonely that can be done at your place or theirs.

1. Socialise over a shared meal

Cooking for one can become a chore, so encourage your parent to cook for others - whether that’s inviting friends to sample homemade cake or having family over for Sunday lunch. If that’s too much pressure, cook a meal with them or invite friends and family around for a casual ‘pot luck’ supper where everyone brings a dish. Ask your parents to share their favourite recipes too – this is a lovely way to keep family history and memories alive. If your parent isn’t a confident cook then cookery classes make a great gift and offer the chance to socialise while learning something new.

TIP: get inspiration with our range of recipes from our home owners and our Retirement Living PLUS bistro chefs. And read our guide to maintaining a healthy diet in retirement.

2. Grow together over gardening

Whether your loved one lives in a house or retirement bungalow with a garden or a retirement apartment with a balcony, getting together to spruce up the outside spaces can be a great way to bond. You might get to learn from their expertise and help your parents with more physical tasks too.

TIP: if your parent is green fingered a local gardening club could help banish a lonely retirement. Smaller space? Read our guide to creating beautiful balcony gardens.

3. Bond over board games, cards or jigsaws

From the challenges of chess to group contests like Destination Europe or the sneaky strategic skills of Poker, getting family together for some friendly competition is a great way to have fun and keep the brain sharp too.

TIP: board games and jigsaws are soaring in popularity – look out for local board game clubs and meetups for your retired parents to join.

4. Start a book club

Prevent your parent from being retired, bored and lonely by getting them into a good book. There are many proven benefits to reading every day. It can reduce stress, while improving memory, empathy and focus. Hosting a regular book club to discuss the latest read with family, friends and neighbours gives added social benefits and something to look forward to too.

TIP: if you don’t want to start your own book club you can find one for your elderly parent to join at your local library, bookshop or via Find a Book Club.

5. Set them up on social media

Helping your parents to be more digitally savvy will go a long way to keeping them connected with the world. Social media can help prevent them from feeling lonely in retirement as they can interact with others from the comfort of their own home.

Consider the best social media to suit your retired parent’s interests. For example, Pinterest is perfect for hobby inspiration and arts and crafts and Facebook can help them to reconnect with friends and family. Don’t discount the addictive fun of TikTok either – if they turn their hand to content creation they may become a viral sensation like Grandad Joe!

TIP: read our guide to staying connected online.

5 places to visit with retired parents in the UK

If you’re looking for inspiration for things to do with elderly parents outside of the home, read our guide to interesting places for retired people to visit in the UK.

1. Head for historic attractions

From Stonehenge to crumbling castles and sumptuous stately homes and gardens, the UK is blessed with a wealth of hidden gems and historic attractions to explore. These make for a fun and educational day out with friends and family and most have fantastic tearooms too.

TIP: if your parents want to avoid feeling lonely in retirement then volunteering with the National Trust or English Heritage will give them a sense of purpose and a new social life.

2. Meander around a National Park

Our National Parks are the UK’s ‘protected landscapes’ known for their outstanding natural beauty and abundant wildlife. From the wild ponies that roam free in Dartmoor National Park to the endless waterways of The Norfolk Broads, National Parks provide a chance to enjoy unique adventures and stunning scenery as a family. Don’t forget to pack a picnic.

TIP: find inspiration with our five favourite National Parks.

3. Exercise with others in the great outdoors

Keeping fit and active is key to preventing boredom and loneliness in retirement. As well as offering opportunities to make friends and providing a structure to the week, regular exercise will help your loved one to stay stronger and more independent for longer. From wild swimming to golf, walking football to cycling, bowling clubs to rambling groups, there are plenty of options to suit all tastes and fitness levels.

TIP: read our guide to helping your parents stay active in retirement.

4. Get a flavour of wine tasting

In our survey of popular retirement hobbies based on 1,500 retirees, wine tasting was the 4th favourite - and it’s not hard to understand why.

From opportunities to tour the stunning vineyards that are popping up throughout the UK to learning about the different varieties of grape, wine tasting is a fun thing to do with elderly parents.

5. You can’t beat a beach

A trip to a seaside town is fun for all the family in every season. Whether it’s fish and chips on the pier, helping grandchildren build sandcastles or enjoying bracing coastal walks, a day at the beach will help your loved ones make memories across generations.

TIP: tempt your parents to retire to the seaside and they’ll feel like they are on holiday every day.

How can I spend more time with my elderly parent?

Finding time to spend with your loved one can be challenging — especially if you have work and family commitments, or they don’t live close by. If that strikes a chord then a retirement community could be the answer to helping them avoid a lonely retirement. There’s a community of people on the doorstep so they’ll soon make new friends and lots of clubs and activities on offer too.

House Manager, Josh Fido-Lake says of his retirement community “We have an Activity Committee where homeowners plan for the year– they’ve taken the reins and are getting on with it themselves. We have fish and chip nights, pizza and a comedy film night, Chinese food night, cheese and wine, scrabble and chess clubs, a bowls club - within the complex – as well as seasonal events. We’ve raised over £700 for charities with quizzes, raffles and fun and games!"

Our guest suites make it easy for you to stay over when you come and visit – or you and your parents may agree that they want to move to be closer to you so you can see them more often. Read our guide to having that conversation.

Carole’s move means she’s never bored or lonely

Carole has been busy since moving to her apartment in Turner Place, Berkshire - with weekly art classes, bingo and quiz nights, Pilates, Fish Fridays, Fizz Fridays and regular entertainment, including an Elvis impersonator.

Carole said: “I immediately felt at home. I have my own space when I need it, but there is also so much going on - I have been able to try new things and make lots of new friends too.” Read more about Carole’s experience of retirement living.

Prevent a lonely retirement with McCarthy Stone

Whether your parents choose our independent living developments or the convenience of our assisted living developments (which offer a helping hand when needed), your retired parent will always have company in our thriving retirement communities.

Want to know more? Contact a member of our friendly team on 0800 201 4811 or enquire online.

Share this article:

Stay in the loop

Keep updated on news, events & exclusive offers

We need your email to complete your request but you can unsubscribe from updates at any time.