As our parents get older, it becomes more important than ever to cherish the time we have together. Their mobility may become limited over time, or health issues may emerge, making it harder to continue with activities they once enjoyed. However, there are still plenty of meaningful and fun things you can do with your elderly mom and dad to create new memories.
I have compiled this list of 40 suggestions for spending quality time with aging parents. They range from quiet at-home activities to getting out and about in your local community. You’ll find ideas that work for those with limited mobility as well as healthy, active seniors.
- Look at old photo albums together while reminiscing about the past. This can spark meaningful conversations about your family history.
- Work on a puzzle together at the kitchen table or prop up a puzzle board in the living room. This engages critical thinking skills.
- Schedule a movie night complete with popcorn and your parents’ favorite candy or snacks. Prioritize classic films they saw when they were younger.
- Bake cookies, breads, or other homemade treats. Time spent together in the kitchen fills the house with delicious aromas and often leads to laughter and connection.
- Read aloud to each other from books you all enjoy. This encourages bonding and literacy.
- Write handwritten letters back-and-forth if you don’t live close. Receiving heartfelt mail is a treat.
- Ask your parents to teach you skills they have like sewing, woodworking, gardening and more. Learning from their wealth of knowledge is invaluable.
- Schedule regular video chat dates if you live far apart. Seeing each other’s faces fosters a greater sense of closeness.
- Explore genealogy websites together to deepen your understanding of your heritage. Learning about your family tree provides perspective.
- Put together a jigsaw puzzle at the kitchen table or in the living room. Puzzle-building engages the mind.
Outings in the Community
- Pack up home-cooked picnic food and head out together to a park or scenic nature trail. Enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.
- Visit the farmer’s market for seasonal fruits and veggies. Picking out colorful produce together can be a fun summer activity.
- Schedule museum visits to view exhibits that speak to your parents’ interests, like art, history, culture, and more. Exploring subjects they’re passionate about together is rewarding.
- Go to the zoo! Feed the giraffes, watch the penguins play, and admire majestic elephants together. Zoos allow for both leisurely and active enjoyment.
- Browse shelves at the public library and check out books, movies, music, and more to borrow. Having reading materials on hand at home encourages enjoyment.
- Treat your parents to dinner out, followed by tickets to the community theater’s musical performance or play. The arts encourage creativity.
- Take scenic drives together throughout the countryside near where you live. Stop to picnic or dine at a restaurant along the way for full enjoyment. Taking in beautiful landscapes together is grounding.
- Volunteer together at local charities like food banks and animal shelters. Giving back fosters a sense of community, purpose, and pride.
- Explore your hometown or current city together by taking new walking paths, architecture tours, garden tours and more. Sharing these activities sparks conversation.
- Visit historic sites like monuments, battlefields, and landmarks. Understand the architecture and history together for perspective. Sites may offer scenic walking paths, too.
Active Outdoors Activities
My next suggestions are tailored for active, mobile seniors. The idea is to get outdoors together, breathe fresh air, stay active, and have some fun!
- Stroll through botanical gardens together admiring flowers, plants, lawn art, and more. Beautiful natural settings help brighten moods.
- Schedule a game of lawn bowling at a local park, retirement village or recreational area. Gentle lawn bowling gets you on your feet together.
- Window shop together at an outdoor lifestyle market or bazaar selling crafts, artisanal wares, jewelry, clothing, pottery and more. Wandering inspires creativity.
- Visit a pick-your-own farm together to harvest apples, berries, pumpkins, and more in season. Picking ripe fruit encourages bonding.
- Pack a basket with wine, cheese, bread, and fruit. Head out together for an al fresco picnic in an area park or scenic recreation area. Picnics heighten togetherness.
- Explore a historic neighborhood by following self-guided walking tour pamphlets. Admire architecture, landmarks, and history together.
- Take an exercise class like beginner Tai Chi, chair yoga, or stretching at your local senior center or gym. Moving together builds strength and balance.
- Visit an outdoor garden center to stock up on seeds, bulbs, plants, tools and more for the season. Make your outdoor space beautiful together through gardening.
- Tee up for mini-golf. Fun novelty courses with water features, loops, and sharp angles exist in many towns. The gentle walking and friendly competition is enjoyable.
- Pedal together on a tandem bicycle built for two riders. Bike paths through pretty scenery make for pleasant outings. Stop for a snack to refuel.
Out and About Locally
My remaining suggestions involve getting out locally together to enrich your time with your elderly mom and dad.
- Tour an interesting workplace for a behind-the-scenes look. Options could be TV stations, firehouses, universities, bakeries,cheese factories, and more. Learning together piques intellectual curiosity.
- Spend an afternoon paint session together at one of the trendy paint-and-sip studios. Follow along as the instructor guides you through recreating vibrant artwork. Creativity brightens moods.
- Hop aboard sightseeing tours of your city by trolley, boat, Segway, double decker bus or carriage. Sit back together and gain fresh perspectives on familiar surroundings from knowledgeable guides.
- Pack up folding chairs and a cooler. Head out for a free summer concert in your community park or outdoor amphitheater together. Music lightens spirits and fosters dancing and singing.
- Visit historic ships, aircraft carriers, submarines and more docked as floating museums in many port cities. Exploring these unique attractions builds military pride.
- See an IMAX film together at your local museum or science center. These giant screen movies with thrilling surround sound immerse you in topic ranging from ocean life to outer space voyages together.
- Volunteer together at charitable events like walk-a-thon fundraisers, rebuilding projects, park cleanups, meal prep at homeless shelters, or more. Serving those in need together builds community spirit.
- Visit vintage railway museums to admire restored trains and intricate models together. Railroads have unique histories.
- Pack up folding chairs, snacks and sunscreen. Spend an afternoon together watching minor league baseball games, car races, rodeos and more held at local venues. Supporting these athletes and organizations is rewarding.
- Explore hands-on science museums with interactive exhibits allowing you to experiment together. Topics span weather, electricity, hydraulics, energy, math puzzles and more for ongoing education.
The Importance of Cherishing Time Together
I hope this list of 40 activity suggestions covering at-home pursuits, community attractions, outdoors adventures and more provides helpful inspiration for spending meaningful time together with your aging mom and dad.
As our parents grow older, it becomes increasingly important to prioritize regular visits and outings with them when possible. If you don’t live nearby, try planning an extended trip back home allowing plenty of time for these suggested activities with your parents.
Savoring simple joys side-by-side, like baking favorite recipes in the kitchen, cheering on sports teams, strolling through scenic gardens, volunteering in the community, learning about your family histories, and reminiscing over old memories, can do wonders for fostering closer connections and making your parents feel truly cherished.
Building an ongoing routine centered around these shared activities also benefits your parents’ mental, emotional, and physical health by reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation while allowing them to remain active both physically and mentally as long as possible.
I wish you and your aging parents many more wonderful times spent together soaked in simple joy, laughter, adventure and togetherness! Please reach out with any other questions.