Fun and fun things to do with aging parents include spending quality time together, doing something fun, and getting them involved. Time is precious and it’s an opportunity to make new memories. Some of my best memories are the times I shared with my parents during my senior year of high school. Both have passed away and I feel fortunate to be able to brighten their lives while they are still healthy and active. Based on my own research and experience, these 21 Fun Things to Do with Elderly Parents reveal some new ideas you might not have thought of.

1. Play Cards Or Board Games

Playing cards or board games is both mentally stimulating and a great way to pass the time. It’s also much better than watching TV. 

While everyone has a favorite game, you may decide to learn a new game and change things up. 

  • rummy

  • Eight fools

  • heart

  • trash

  • Poker

Other options for the game include puzzles, checkers, chess, battleships, adventure, and many more. Even solving puzzles together can make for a great afternoon.

The cost is usually zero or negligible if you buy a new game or puzzle.

2. Cook With Them Their Favorite Meal

Cooking their favorite meal is a great way to share quality time. Alternatively, they may be feeling adventurous to try something new. 

Especially if they live alone, cooking for one person is difficult. While cooking something together can be a fun activity. Unless you’re buying ribs or lobster, you probably won’t spend more than you would normally spend. That said, it might be worth splurging for something special.

3. Quiet Lunch On The Patio

We did this a few times with Debbie’s stepfather. It’s not only what he’s looking forward to, but it’s also a great way to spend time together. We like to mix things up by trying different places. When the weather is good, we look for a patio and half the fun is people-watching. Going out for lunch is cheaper than having dinner. And often it’s the same menu! Just smaller portions, perfect for an older person.

4. Play Handball

Pickleball is not only fun but also a great way to meet new people. In our article How to Make Friends in Retirement, we explain how easy it is to make new friends while playing Pickleball. Looks like everyone is trying and coming back for more! If you’re completely new to Pickleball, a great guide is Pickleball Kitchen’s post on How to Get Started with Pickleball:

Guide for beginners in Fun Things.

Your local recreation center may have a patio and paddleboard for a small fee.

5. Doing Funny Things at the museum

Usually, we only think of them when out-of-town guests arrive. Most offer informative video programs and interspersed special exhibits. When we were in New Orleans we walked into their WWII museum. I have never seen anything like it before and we could easily spend a few days there. Another museum I hope to visit someday is the Smithsonian. Admissions are generally reasonable, often with discounts for seniors. One of the cheapest fun things to do with aging parents.

6. Visiting an art gallery

Art galleries are similar to museums and are often overlooked. Since my mother is an artist, she likes to see what’s new. The exhibits are rotated and refreshed regularly, so there’s always something new to see. Again, admissions are often reasonable with discounts for seniors.

7. Visit a greenhouse and do Fun Things

The greenhouses open for the growing frenzy in spring and close in midsummer. To attract customers, they offer loads of fun things to see and do. They may offer lessons or demonstrations. Anyone interested in gardening will find themselves enthralled. To encourage people to stay, they can have a restaurant that serves cheap, quality food. Of course, don’t forget the gift shop. Although the browser is free, you may find yourself buying a tree or two. For most, this can be a fun outing at a low cost.

8. Take an exercise class

Almost no one likes to do everything alone. To make your loved one more active, ask them to go for a walk. Walking is often considered one of the best ways for seniors to stay active. Another idea is to take a course together, for example:

  • water aerobics

  • Pilate

  • yoga chair

  • Tai Chi

Check your local entertainment complex for classes and prices. Silver sneakers can also offer low-cost options. 

9. Visit the local bowling alley

Bowling was more popular in the 50s and 60s. However, it is one of those ageless sports that many elderly people still remember and love. In fact, there are even bowling tournaments for those 55 and older. Although costs vary across the country, the average cost to rent a lane is around $25.00 per hour. 

10. Pool or billiard room

I didn’t realize how many “old men” were sharks in disguise. Admittedly, my uncle was one of them and he hit me pretty hard. However, our afternoon was wonderful. If there’s an old-fashioned pool house nearby, all the better. They have these big tables and usually, the decor is from the old days. Usually billed by the part or by the hour. An afternoon rarely costs more than $20, not including food or drinks.