Budget friendly activities for over 50s
The cost of living crisis has had a big impact on day-to-day living costs – from heating a home to filling up the car. But additionally, it may also make people over 50 think twice about the money they spend on hobbies and activities. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the best free or low cost leisure activities for seniors.
Why activities for older people matter
Studies have shown that taking part in leisure activities can reduce the risk of depression and stress, as well as improve mental and physical health. They can also combat loneliness by offering the chance to be part of a community, as once you’re retired, you won’t have the same social network of co-workers from when you were employed.
What activities are the most popular for older people?
|Activity||55-64 year-olds||65 or older|
|Listening to music/radio||55%||46%|
|Cooking and baking||49%||43%|
|Solving puzzles (i.e. crosswords)||38%||47%|
|Sewing, knitting, dress-making||28%||26%|
To give you some extra inspiration, below we explore some activities for the elderly that can be undertaken alone or in groups.
When it comes to raising your spirits, there’s nothing like spinning, twirling and grooving the night away. Dance classes are not only a great way to meet people – it can help improve your strength and balance, which is particularly useful in later life when you might be at greater risk of a fall. Affordable group dancing activities for the elderly can include folk dance and line dancing, but if you’d rather practice on your own, you could try various types of solo dancing, such as flamenco, tap and modern jazz.
Pulling on your walking boots and embracing the great outdoors is a tried-and-tested low cost leisure activity for older people. The runs Wellbeing Walks, which brings together groups of walkers and takes into account mobility limitations and overall fitness levels. Moreover, charities like organise walking activities for older people, while charity walks and fundraisers are a good way to meet people while staying fit and giving back to a worthy cause.
It’s never too late to take up yoga, which can be one of the most rewarding group activities for older people. Yoga can boost your flexibility, reduce your anxiety and even help you sleep better. You could try hatha yoga, which focuses on physical posture, or restorative yoga, where the slower movements make it an ideal activity idea for seniors. While prices vary for drop-in yoga classes, you could search for free yoga videos online if you’re looking to save money while finding your inner zen.
Getting lost in a page-turner is one of life’s great pleasures, and attending a book club is an ideal way to meet people and stay stimulated in your later years. In fact, reading is associated with reduced symptoms of memory decline in old age. Many book clubs are free to attend and bring people together (often a short distance from their homes) in local community centres, pubs or libraries, making them a great activity for over 60s in later life. You could alternatively join a virtual book club as a paid subscription, which can give you access to features like author Q&As or a specially curated reading list catering to your interests.
Having a chinwag over a bite to eat can introduce you to new people in the community. Organisations like Age UK host lunch clubs and coffee mornings, which often include games, sing-songs and guest speakers. It’s no secret that socialising is beneficial for our mental health, so lunch clubs and get-togethers are undoubtedly one of the best activities for pensioners.
Anyone can be affected by loneliness in later life, so it’s no surprise why the Men’s Sheds community is among the most popular hobbies for men over 50. Supported by the Men's Sheds Association, it’s a UK-wide network of workshops where participants can get stuck into woodwork projects. The items are often sold or donated to the community, or simply take pride of place on the mantelpiece.
Quizzes are some of the most enjoyable forms of entertainment for the elderly. From local pub quizzes to special fundraisers and online quizzes, there are no shortage of opportunities for you and your team to summon your brain power and scribble your way to the grand prize.
Whether you’re interested in taking photos for pleasure, or even with the intent of staging an exhibition one day, enrolling onto a photography class is arguably one of the most fun things to do when you turn 50 or older. Getting into photography also gives you the chance to create a scrapbook of memories to share with your loved ones for years to come. And if you ever experience memory loss, photographs can also be an invaluable way to trigger connections to your past.
Arts & crafts
If you’ve always liked getting creative and working with your hands, signing up to a local arts & crafts group could give be a stimulating over 50s hobby. There are endless ways you can indulge your tactile interests – from embroidery and knitting to acrylic painting to clay sculptures.