things for bored seniors to do alone

Fun Things for Bored Seniors to Do Alone

Boredom, a low-energy state characterized by dissatisfaction and a lack of motivation, can affect anyone but is particularly prevalent among seniors. This may be because boredom is often linked to loneliness and social isolation, which are also common among older adults. Finding ways to relieve boredom can be challenging, but, fortunately, there are plenty of fun things for bored seniors to do alone.

Physical Activities

Physical activity is a great boredom-buster with multiple physical and mental health benefits[1] that can improve well-being. Anyone can find ways to exercise, even those with limited mobility and other health issues.

Gentle Exercise

Gentle exercise is often the best option for older adults, especially those with health concerns or mobility issues. For those with limited mobility, standing unassisted, walking between rooms, and gentle stretching can all help improve balance and coordination.

Yoga For Seniors

Seniors with better mobility may enjoy yoga, tai chi, or pilates. These are low-impact activities[2] that can improve balance and coordination while improving muscle strength and flexibility. Many of the movements can be adapted for wheelchair users and those with other mobility limitations.

Both yoga and pilates can be practiced at home, but these activities can also have the added benefit of facilitating social interaction. If you or a loved one would like to try yoga, look for fitness centers in your area that offer all-level classes.

Activities For Seniors With Limited Mobility

Older adults with limited mobility may find physical activity difficult or impossible, but there are lots of other things you can do to keep boredom at bay. Pastimes that fire up the brain are a great way to beat boredom, and most can be enjoyed alone.

Mental Stimulation for Bored Seniors

Mental stimulation is key for counteracting boredom and improving cognitive health,[3] especially among seniors. Reading, completing puzzles for seniors, board games, and dice games are all brain-boosting activities that can be enjoyed in your downtime at home.


Reading is beneficial at any age, as immersing yourself in the pages of a good book can reduce stress, alleviate depression, and aid sleep. Studies have also shown that reading has a protective effect on brain health, as regular readers are less likely to experience[4] cognitive decline. The beauty of reading as a hobby is the diversity of your options - there are books to suit every personality and all interests. Whether you settle down with a novel or crack open a textbook, cozying up with a book you love is an enriching way to spend a lazy afternoon.

Puzzles for Seniors

Completing puzzles for seniors[5] and playing card games aren’t just fun ways to pass time, they can also give your brain a workout. Brain games can help improve focus and problem-solving skills, while also reducing stress.[6] Puzzles are a versatile activity, with many types to explore and options to play solo or with others.

Board Games

Board games are typically thought of as a group activity, but there are versions you can play alone. Solo board games can be highly immersive and have been found to benefit brain function and alleviate depression.[7] For older adults with cognitive decline, there are numerous dementia-friendly games[8] you can try.

Hobbies and Creative Activities for the Elderly at Home

Getting creative can beat boredom and improve mental health, as arts and crafts are thought to relieve stress,[9] depression, and anxiety. Other hobbies like listening to music, playing instruments, writing, and cooking can also help get the creative juices flowing.

Arts and Crafts

If you’re looking for ideas to keep an elderly loved one busy at home, arts and crafts can be the perfect place to start. There are lots of creative activities to experiment with, and most can be enjoyed alone or with others.

Drawing and Painting

Drawing and painting can be highly rewarding pastimes and a great way to beat boredom in retirement. Art also has enormous potential benefits for mental health and may improve self-esteem,[10] relieve stress and anxiety, and improve cognitive health and memory.

DIY projects

DIY projects can give older adults a sense of purpose and keep boredom at bay. Completing small projects around the garden and house can help seniors stay physically active and facilitate learning, which can boost cognitive and mental health.


Listening to or making music can help beat boredom and improve mental well-being, so music may be especially beneficial for bored seniors.

  • Playing Instruments: Playing a musical instrument is a highly enriching activity that can enhance creativity, memory, and motor control. It can also alleviate negative feelings of boredom, stress, and depression. Even if you don’t currently play an instrument, it’s never too late to learn! It could even help preserve cognitive health, as research found that people who play musical instruments have a lower risk of dementia.[11]
  • Listening To Music: Of course, you don’t need to play an instrument to enjoy music. Listening to your favorite tunes is an excellent way to unwind while away the afternoon, either alone or with others. Music also has the power to improve mental health among older adults. One study found music therapy improved the quality of life[12] and reduced depression among the elderly.


Losing yourself in writing is an excellent creative pursuit to counteract boredom. It doesn’t matter what you write about or how you do it; whether you put pen to paper or fingers on keys, writing can be a healthy outlet for those battling boredom.

  • Journaling: If you’ve never written before, there’s no better place to start than with a journal. Writing about your experiences, especially positive ones, has been shown to enhance life satisfaction.[13] Revisiting happy memories can be a highly fulfilling way to spend a day and may even help improve your overall mood and well-being.
  • Short Stories: Penning short stories can get your imagination flowing, and what better way to spend time than in a world of your own making? Writing stories is generally a solo activity, but it’s also easy to find writing communities - either online or in-person - that can provide social interaction for bored retirees.
  • Poetry: Writing poetry can help you express your emotions, unlock memories, and provide a creative outlet. It also stimulates the imagination and can boost mental dexterity, helping older adults maintain their cognitive health.

Cooking and Baking

Cooking and baking are relaxing hobbies that can reduce stress and boredom. Trying new recipes can broaden your culinary horizons, while old favorites can bring a touch of comfort to your day. Food can always be enjoyed alone, but it can also be the center of a social occasion. You can invite people to cook with you or share what you make with friends or family.

Learning Opportunities When Retired and Bored

One of the best things to do when retired and bored is to learn something new. In the age of the internet, there’s no limit to available information, and you have millions of resources right at your fingertips. This makes trying new things easy - all that’s left is to find something to spark your interest.

Online Courses

Online courses have never been easier to find, and nowadays, many of them are free. Skillshare, LinkedIn, Coursera, and Udemy are just some of the sites with thousands of courses on offer. You can also browse YouTube for instructional videos if you're more of a visual learner.

Virtual Museum Tours

If you love museums and art galleries but it’s not possible to visit them in person, you can always try a virtual tour. Virtual tours can often be found on the museum’s website, so all you need is a working laptop or computer.

Language Learning

Learning a new language is a great accomplishment at any age. Challenging yourself to master a new language not only helps keep boredom at bay; it can keep your cognitive health in good shape, too. Being bilingual has been linked to a higher cognitive reserve[14] and a delay in the onset of dementia.

Social Connections

Social isolation and loneliness[15]are common among older adults and can contribute to feelings of boredom. Retirement and health issues can make it harder for seniors to leave the house and socialize. This is a problem, and not just because loneliness can feed boredom - research has found that high-quality social interactions are critical for mental well-being.[16] Fortunately, there are still ways for older people to meet others and enjoy a good conversation, even without leaving the house.

Virtual Socializing

Virtual socializing means talking to others using computer-based technology. It may include video calls, chatrooms, or playing online games. Some studies have found an association

between online communication and better mental and physical health[17] in isolated individuals. Virtual socializing involving face-to-face conversation (for example, FaceTime), may be particularly effective for combating boredom and loneliness.

Pen Pals

Talking to friends and family can promote positivity and support mental health, but getting to know new people can be just as rewarding. Talking to someone from a different part of the country or world can open doors and encourage new interests and ideas to blossom. For people bogged down in boredom, this may be the perfect way to introduce novelty into their day-to-day lives. Finding a pen pal may appeal to older adults who don’t use the internet regularly, and exchanging written communication can feel more personal than typing messages. You can find pen pals by reaching out to extended family members.

Reminiscing Activities for the Elderly at Home

Reminiscing about positive experiences can help keep happy memories alive and improve your mood. Making those reminiscences into an activity can be a highly effective way to beat boredom and may significantly improve life satisfaction.[18]

Creating Memory Books

A memory book[19] is somewhere you can keep a record of letters, photographs, and other items that evoke happy memories. Memory books can be especially helpful for people with dementia[20] and other forms of cognitive decline. Items of personal significance can help a person with memory loss re-connect with themselves, which can promote self-esteem and validation.


Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication, and it can bring you closer to people in your life. Reliving shared memories can be a very bonding experience and an excellent way to pass an afternoon.

Activities for Seniors with Cognitive Decline

Seniors with dementia and other types of cognitive decline often have specific needs that are best addressed with patience and understanding. If you know someone with dementia and want to help them relieve boredom, you will need to choose activities that suit their needs and capabilities. Fortunately, there are lots of dementia-friendly products and activities you can try.


What activities are good for lonely elderly people?

There are lots of activities that can enrich the lives of lonely elderly people. Physical exercise, reading, listening to music, writing, cooking, learning new languages or skills, and taking online courses are just some of the things seniors can do to liven up their retirement.

How do you stop boredom in the elderly?

Boredom is a natural human state and one that cant be avoided completely. Boredom is your brain’s way of alerting you to dissatisfaction in your life; if you feel bored, this is your signal to change something or try something new. There are lots of ways in which older adults can relieve boredom, such as completing puzzles, reading or writing, socializing over games or other group activities, or arts and crafts projects.

How do you overcome loneliness in old age?

Loneliness is common among seniors, as retirement and health issues can make it harder to get out and about. If an older adult in your life has difficulty leaving the house, online communication or writing to pen pals may help them grow their social network. You may also consider arranging weekly get-togethers at their house.

What do older adults do for fun?

Older adults have fun in many of the same ways younger adults do. They may find joy in music, books or films, hobbies like DIY or arts and crafts, through group activities, or learning new skills.






















Back to blog

About The Author

Mary Anne Roberto, the co-founder of Always Home Connected is a dedicated CNA and a Certified Positive Approach To Care Consultant (Teepa Snow), specializing in dementia care.  Her goal is to create awareness about those experiencing cognitive changes and to provide caregivers with resources and tools that are necessary to help alleviate some of the challenges caregivers face on a day-to-day basis.