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.

How to help my parents plan for an active retirement

If you’re thinking ‘my parents are planning an active retirement how can I help?’ our advice on planning retirement activities, and more, is for you. Read our tips now.

How to help my parents plan for an active retirement
Friends and family
Posted 05 September 2023
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Planning an active retirement 

If you’re supporting a parent with retirement planning then you want to help them to make the most out of their new life. An important part of that is encouraging them to be as active as possible, whether that’s mastering a new skill, making new friends, taking up a new hobby or having more time to indulge in a favourite pastime. This guide explains everything you need to know to help your parents to plan for an active retirement. 

  • What an ‘active retirement’ really means
  • The benefits of an active retirement 
  • How to support your parent’s plan for an active retirement
  • How to help your parents maintain an active retirement 

What does an ‘active retirement’ really mean? 

Your parents are planning an active retirement, but what does this actually mean? An active retirement means keeping yourself busy once you’ve stopped working. It includes taking up regular sports, whether that’s gentle walking or training towards a marathon. Hobbies like arts and crafts, reading, writing or learning a new language count but also everyday activities like gardening and cooking. Socialising is a key part of an active retirement – and a move to a retirement community can be a great way to meet new people and get involved in clubs and events. Being active is thought to play a critical role in enjoying a healthy and happy retirement

What are the benefits of an active retirement? 

Planning retirement activities has many benefits for all around physical and mental wellbeing as we get older. If your parents need convincing, here’s five benefits to share:  

Keeping in good shape

Whether your loved one is into golf, yoga, wild swimming or walking their dog scheduling in time for regular exercise is important to fitness and overall health and will help keep them stronger and more independent for longer.   

Staying positive

Keeping active is one of the simplest ways to improve mental health. Exercise releases endorphins that relieve stress and boost overall mood but being busy, sociable and having a purpose also keeps people positive. Working in retirement or volunteering can keep people feeling fulfilled in later life.  

Social interaction

The last thing you want is for your loved ones to feel lonely in retirement and planning for an active retirement will help them to keep up with old friends and meet new ones, especially if they take part in clubs and community groups.  

Brain gain

Whether it’s crosswords, chess or learning Italian, giving your brain a workout is extremely beneficial as we age. Encourage your loved ones to take up retirement hobbies that combine mental agility with physical activity and/or an opportunity to be sociable. E.g. golf, yoga, painting or Knit and Natter.  

A better night’s sleep

If you parents are enjoying an active retirement then they are far more likely to sleep well – which, as we all know, makes us feel happier and healthier. Tip: spending time outdoors in natural light boosts mood and improves sleep quality. Read more tips for a good night’s sleep.

How to support your parent’s plan for an active retirement  

Talking to your parents about their future plans can help you to understand exactly what they’re looking for out of their retirement. If they’re keen on an active retirement, there are lots of things you can do to support them:  

Help them with their research

Look into the clubs and groups on offer in their local area and suggest ideas for retirement activities – from book clubs to history groups you’ll find inspiration in the community centre or library. You may find ideas they haven’t considered before, such as aqua aerobics or qigong. Search for opportunities for them to get involved in helping their community too, for instance, volunteering for a charity.  

Plan to do a retirement activity with them

Retirement gives your parents the chance to spend more time with you, so why not find a hobby you can enjoy together – whether that’s regular theatre trips or fishing? Something as simple as going for walks together will be good for both of you.  

Consider move to an active retirement community

Moving to an active retirement community provides an easy way for your parents to make friends and join in with a range of retirement activities with clubs, fitness classes and parties on their doorstep.  At McCarthy Stone retirement communities, our house managers help co-ordinate regular events based on our homeowners’ interests. All entertainment is entirely optional – there’s no ‘forced fun,’ but from films nights to gardening clubs or cocktail tasting, most people find there is something they enjoy.  

How to help your parents maintain an active retirement

Where your parents choose to retire can make a difference to how active their retirement is – some will want to be close to the coast or countryside to get the most out of being outdoors, while others will prefer the choice and culture on offer in a vibrant city.  Or perhaps moving closer to you or downsizing to a more manageable home will help them to stay active? Read our guide to talking to your parents about moving for their retirement

A McCarthy Stone home gives Carole an active retirement

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

Join the fun with McCarthy Stone

All of our retirement communities are built on a foundation of fun, freedom and friendship. So, whether you’re convincing an elderly parent to move closer, or looking to buy a retirement property on their behalf, we’ve got everything you need to support your loved one’s quest for a more active retirement.  

From independent living retirement apartments to over-60s bungalows, our properties are modern, spacious and stylish and designed to give your parents - and you - peace of mind. And, it they need more support our Retirement Living Plus housing offers thoughtful assisted living services too

Search for a retirement home near you today, get in touch online or call our friendly team on 0800 201 4811 for more information.

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