“How can I make retirement fun?” you may be wondering, looking for things to do when retired.
Many seniors have more free time on their hands than they would like. Free time is certainly great, but it can also be difficult in its own way if not utilized effectively.
Luckily, there are many ways to enliven your retirement – way more than you may be imagining! Find out more below, where we go over the best things to do when retired and bored!
How Do You Kill Time After Retirement? (10 Things To Do When Retired And Bored)
1. Create a bucket list
There most likely are things that you’ve always wanted to do and try but never did for some reason, be it because of the lack of time or money. Well, if you have resources to spare, add all these things together to create a bucket list!
A bucket list will serve as sort of a checklist of activities for you to follow – cross items off the list as you complete them.
2. Go traveling
Traveling can be an eye-opening experience – as you get to know different cultures and ways of thinking, you may start appreciating life and humanity even more. Let’s also not forget about the sightseeing aspect of travel – you can find many unique things to do and see in foreign lands!
To get started, have a look at our vacation guide for seniors. This guide is tailored to individuals with mobility issues, but it should still give you some inspiration as to what to look for when planning your journey.
Read our hotel senior discount guide too – many hotels around the world knock down their prices for individuals over a certain age (usually 55+ or 60+).
Frustrated with the noise and perpetual smoke of your city? Or maybe bored to death with the serene countryside environment you’ve lived in your whole life? Try moving!
Moving to another location could help you get the oh so desired change in your landscape. Aside from that, if your current place of residence lacks the services you need – like good internet – relocating to a new town or city could allow you to dramatically improve your quality of life.
Here’s a video from the YouTube channel Vagabond Awake on some of the most popular places for overseas retirement:
4. Find a part-time job
Have you considered continuing working? Not only can a job keep you occupied, but it will also provide you with a more or less steady stream of income!
Many seniors would gladly take the opportunity to retire for good, but if your boiling blood doesn’t permit professional inactivity, you could try finding a good part-time job.
As a word of encouragement, here are a few interesting senior employments stats:
- In 2014, about 40% of people aged 55 or up were working or actively looking for work.
- From 2014 to 2024, the annual growth rate in labor force of the 75 and older age group is expected to be about 6.4%. For the 65-74 age group, the growth rate is expected to be 4.5%. For comparison, for younger age groups, the growth rate ranges from negative 1.4% to 1.0% – much lower than for senior groups!
- In 2016, 16.42% of individuals aged 65 and up were self-employed. This was much higher than the self-employment rates of younger age groups (from 1.81% among 16 to 24 years olds to 8.88% among 55 to 64 years olds). So self-employment becomes more popular with age.
With that, an increasing number of seniors prefer to stay active professionally!
There are many ways for you to continue working as you enter your 60s or 70s. You could keep your job but switch to part-time employment. You could also try freelancing to keep your schedule more flexible.
If you have thirst for fresh experiences and knowledge, you may even get yourself a degree in a new field too. These days, you can obtain a degree online – no need to leave the comfort of your home!
5. Start a business
Running your own business is certainly going to keep you on your toes.
If you want to make the effort worthwhile, you’ll have to wholly dedicate yourself to your commercial undertaking. Among other things, you’ll need to carefully research the market to come up with a product or service that people actually want, and you’ll then need to keep a close eye on your business to make sure that it adapts to its ever-changing environment.
But with a careful approach, a business could allow you to build considerable capital. This then would permit you to take care of your retirement expenses or perhaps help you contribute to your grandchildren’s financial future as well.
6. Stay physically active
Physical activity is a prerequisite for a high quality of life at an older age.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 31 million Americans aged 50 or older (28% of all adults in the age group) are inactive. This is despite the fact that regular physical activity can delay, prevent, or manage many chronic diseases in seniors.
For “substantial health benefits” in adults, the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (2nd edition) recommend:
- At least 150 minutes (2 and a half hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week. Examples of moderate aerobic activities include walking briskly (2.5 to 4 mph), playing doubles tennis, or raking the yard.
- OR at least 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous aerobic physical activity per week. Examples of vigorous aerobic activities include jogging, participating in a strenuous fitness class, carrying heavy groceries upstairs, or shoveling snow.
- An equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity.
- Moderate or greater muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week.
For older adults, recommendations are as follows:
- Exercise should incorporate balance training along with aerobic and strength activities.
- Older adults should determine their level of effort for physical activity relative to their fitness level.
- Individuals with chronic conditions should understand if and how their conditions impact their ability to exercise regularly and safely.
- When older adults can’t meet the 150-minute recommendation, they should stay as active as their health allows.
We strongly recommend that you give the entire Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans a good read – you will find a wealth of information there.
Aside from that, read our following guides:
If you have back or neck pain, also try:
7. Stay mentally active
Mental activity is also a key component to health – more precisely, mental health. Keeping your brain working can help you reduce the chance of age-related neurological diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease.
To keep your mental activity at high levels, you should:
- Continue learning new things to make your brain build new connections between its cells.
- Undertake mentally challenging tasks, like learning a new language.
- Get out of your comfort zone. This can be achieved via travel, for example, where the need to navigate unfamiliar surroundings can force your brain to work harder.
- Be social – interact with your friends or family, work part-time, or volunteer to face new situations.
8. Learn new hobbies
Learning new hobbies could also help you stay mentally active, but it can also be really fun. Among some of the things you could try are:
- Playing the piano, the guitar, or another musical instrument.
9. Foster or adopt a pet
Strongly consider getting a pet as well. Pets can help seniors battle loneliness, and they could also encourage you to stay physically active (this especially applies to dogs). As far as fostering is concerned, you would also be doing a local animal shelter a great favor.
Here are a few wonderful statistics that demonstrate the positive effects pets have on senior owners aged 50 to 80, according to a 2018 poll by the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging:
- Pets help adults enjoy life (88%), make them feel loved (86%), reduce stress (79%), provide a sense of purpose (73%), and help them stick to a routine (62%).
- Pets help seniors connect with other people (65%), help them stay physically active (78% among dog owners and 64% overall), and help them cope with physical and emotional symptoms (60%, distracting seniors from pain in 34% of cases).
- 72% of those who lived alone and/or reported poor or fair physical health say that pets help them cope with emotional or physical symptoms.
- 43% of those who live alone and 46% of those in poor or fair physical health said that their pets help them take their mind off pain.
Before choosing a pet, make sure to consider the demands of pet ownership and your capabilities. Healthier seniors may be able to take care of the needs of energetic dogs like Huskies, while others will need to settle for a more low-demand pet. Read our dog breed guide for seniors for more guidance as to what to expect specifically with dogs.
For more perspective as to what challenges may be awaiting seniors, here are some findings from the National Poll on Healthy Aging:
- 54% reported that pets make activities away from home (like traveling) difficult to enjoy.
- 18% reported that a pet puts a strain on their budget.
- 15% said that their pet’s health takes priority over their own health.
- 6% reported that their pets had caused them to fall or otherwise injure themselves.
Owning a pet is a double-edged sword – make sure to understand its implications before making a decision. Most importantly, take into account your lifestyle and health.
Here’s a video from the YouTube channel Top Dog Breeds on the 10 best dog breeds for seniors and retirees:
10. Do volunteer work
Volunteering can help you socially interact with others and find a sense of purpose in your life. Perhaps more importantly, by volunteering, you will be able to help those in great need.
Some places where you may volunteer are:
- A local Meals on Wheels program. Volunteers can contribute by delivering meals, chatting with seniors, or performing wellness check calls, among other things.
- Volunteer.gov. Here, you can find volunteering opportunities at US national parks.
- PeaceCorps.gov. Peace Corps allows you to volunteer in education projects in foreign countries, most of which are in Asia and Africa.
- Habitat for Humanity. Within the scope of this program, volunteers construct new homes or renovate old ones – both in the US and abroad.
Seniors should consider their own unique life circumstances when trying to pick fun things to do in retirement. Your health, financial situation, and other factors should be taken into account when planning the next step.
Hopefully, our list will provide inspiration and guide you in the right direction!