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Fun and free summer activities for seniors

Explore our ideas for free and fun summer activities for older adults and their loved ones.

June 13, 2024

Elderly grandparents having picnic with grandchild in summer

Staying as active as possible and taking part in activities that are good for the body, mind and include social interaction, can become more difficult in later life. However, the benefits can be huge in preventing loneliness and isolation, as well as being great for general health and wellbeing. The summer months can be a good time for older adults to try new hobbies and activities, with the longer days and warmer weather giving more opportunities to spend time outdoors.

In this article, we’ve compiled some ideas for those in later life to experience this summer, helping them to try new things, get more active and spend meaningful time with other people, all for no or low cost.

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Why summer activities for seniors are so important

Elderly women crocheting together indoors

Many older adults tend to find that their social circle and activity levels both decrease as they get older. This combination can have serious physical and mental health consequences for elderly people, potentially leading to social isolation, and a more sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk of many different medical conditions in later life.

While it’s important for older people to take part in activities all year round ideally, the longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures can make it easier for people in later life to find and try new activities that can form lasting habits for long-term benefits.

Some summer activities that can be done outdoors in the warmer months can potentially be moved indoors at other times of year, helping the older adults that enjoy them to keep going and maintain that activity and the social connections year-round.

Fun summer activities for elderly people

It’s always important to consider that everyone is an individual and one person’s ‘fun’ might not be another’s cup of tea. If you’re trying to help an older loved one to find and take part in summer activities that suit them, getting them involved in conversations about this can be a good way to help them try something new.

Accompanying them to summer activities and getting other family members, friends, neighbours or loved ones involved can help you to build good memories together as well as increasing the older adult’s activity levels and assisting with making new social connections outside of this circle too.

We’ve compiled some fun and free summer activities for elderly people to consider.

Visit the seaside

Depending on where you live in the UK, you may have a beach nearby or might need to travel a little. You may want to avoid visiting in peak busy periods, but a trip to the seaside is a very sensory experience, which can be really beneficial for some elderly people.

Whether it’s the salty sea air, the sight and sound of the waves, the nostalgic taste of fish and chips, or the feeling of sand beneath the toes, visiting a beach can be fun and stimulating for the body and mind, whatever your age.

If the older adult has some mobility issues, some popular UK beaches now offer accessible routes without steps, or have seafronts that are wheelchair or mobility scooter-friendly. Some also offer ‘beach wheelchairs’ for hire, which are specially designed to go right down onto the sand and into the water.

Picnic at a local park

A simple and fun activity that can involve any number of people you like, is a picnic in a local park or green space. Many public spaces have picnic benches or areas set aside for exactly this, so no sitting on the floor is required, although usually some walking might be needed to get to the picnic area.

Many larger parks also host events throughout the summer, which can be a great way to spend more time outdoors, taking in the sights and sounds while staying fairly close to home.

Attend local free family events in the community

Along with parks, many other community spaces often have free events during the summer months, aimed at bringing together people of all ages in the local area. This could be anything from having an open day at a local community centre, to art exhibitions, fairs, car boot sales or food festivals.

Getting out and about at these events can not only be interesting and stimulating for older adults, it can also bring a social boost as well, meeting more people that are active in the local community.

Hobby sharing

Many people from older generations have skills and interests that are useful and fun, so a great way to make friends, or to enjoy quality time with people already known, is to spend a couple of hours regularly with one person taking the opportunity each time to share a hobby or interest with everyone else.

Whether it’s something crafty, like knitting, crocheting or card-making, or something very practical, such as gardening tips, playing chess, completing jigsaw puzzles or even birdwatching, sharing hobbies is a great way for people to try something new in a warm and inclusive environment.

Volunteering in the local community

There are usually plenty of volunteering opportunities for older adults all year round, but summer might be the best time to start doing something new.

Volunteering can be highly beneficial for people in later life, giving them a sense of purpose and a way to meet new people and stay more active.

It could be something like helping out in a local charity shop for a couple of hours a week, assisting with projects like community gardens or allotments, or getting involved with a local animal rescue. Whatever the interests of the older adult, there are likely to be volunteering opportunities that suit them.

Low-cost summer activities for seniors

While the options below might have a small associated cost, we’ve only included budget-friendly summer activities for seniors, because many are on a limited fixed income.

Joining a lawn bowling club

Elderly men enjoying lawn bowling in summer

A pastime that many older people enjoy (alongside the younger generations) is lawn bowls. Many local areas have a bowling club and usually for just a few pounds, people can enjoy a game with like-minded others on a regular basis. Some clubs have open days to attract new players, which can be a great time to go and meet some of the regulars, try the sport out and see if it’s something of interest.

Visiting outdoor places of historical interest

Taking advantage of good weather days to explore places of historical interest that are outdoors can be a great activity for older adults. Some will have an entrance fee or a recommended donation amount to visit, but others may well be free or nearly-free. A great place to start if you’re looking for somewhere to visit near you could be the Historic England website.

Whether it’s a stroll along a stretch of historic canal, a wander around the formal gardens of a nearby stately home, or visiting a market town or village that’s been around for a long time, this can be a great way to spend an active day.

Dementia-friendly summer activities

If your elderly loved one is experiencing some dementia symptoms or has been diagnosed with a condition like Alzheimer’s disease, it can be more of a challenge to find summer activities that they will enjoy and find beneficial. Trying activities that stimulate their senses, without making them worried, upset or anxious, can sometimes be tricky and everyone is different.

We’ve suggested some low-key activities that you may want to try with an older adult who has dementia.

Visiting a place from their past

Many people in the early stages of dementia might struggle with their short-term memory, but may have some really strong memories of other things that they did, saw or experienced in earlier life. Visiting a place from their past that holds positive associations can help them to better connect with their environment and the people around them. Maybe it’s a place they visited on holiday years ago, a street or landmark around the area they grew up in, or a venue they often talk about spending time in; this can encourage them to talk about the past and their memories.

Visiting a sensory garden or garden centre

Sensory gardens are outdoor spaces that are designed to stimulate every single sense, with things to see, touch, smell, hear and even taste. This can be something that some people with dementia really enjoy, as it gives them a way to connect with nature and is a calm space.

There are sensory gardens around the UK that people can visit, such as the Eden Project in Cornwall, Trentham Gardens in Staffordshire, the National Botanic Garden of Wales, the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh and many more. However, a long trip isn’t always possible or needed to find plants and spaces that stir the senses.

For many older people, a trip to a large garden centre at a quiet time can be just as stimulating. These centres are also often geared well towards older people, with many having lots of seating and cafes that are perfect for taking a break during the visit.

Attending an outdoor concert/band event

There can be a strong link for some of those with dementia that music taps into, in a way that most other things cannot. For this reason, attending an outdoor music event could be a brilliant activity for an older person experiencing dementia symptoms. Whether it’s classical music being played, a brass band or a choir, music can often be something that they really connect with, and many local areas put on events like this in the summer months in parks or other public spaces.

Keeping the elderly safe in warm weather

Whatever activities you and your elderly loved one decide on experiencing this summer, it’s important to be aware of the risks of high temperatures for older people, and also to ensure they are properly protected from the sun (even on cloudy days) and stay hydrated.

Find out more in our article on tips for staying safe in the summer for older adults.

Another consideration is if your older loved one has a fall or accident while doing an activity this summer, or while home alone. Will they be able to reach out for help if they need it and they are on their own, or if something happens at night?

With a personal alarm that works anywhere in the UK and is monitored 24/7, it means that your elderly relative or friend is only ever the press of a button away from getting assistance if it’s ever needed. This assurance might give confidence to an older adult who has perhaps experienced a fall or accident in the past and wants to know that help is at hand if required.

We have a range of personal alarms available with a variety of features to suit different lifestyles and preferences. You can view our full range of alarms online or call our customer service team for more information on which personal alarm system would be best suited to your circumstances. Our team is available on 0800 085 7371 (Mon – Fri, 9am – 5pm).

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

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Ways to support independent living

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

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