What To Do In Retirement

Retirement often requires a lifestyle adjustment for both the older person and their close friends and family members. It can also require an emotional adjustment period as the person gets used to a daily schedule with increased freedom. It’s important for the person to be able to continue to engage in activities that bring them enjoyment and pleasure.

Boredom can be a common consequence of retirement, so it’s important to consider what to do in retirement. This is especially important for an older person with dementia, because lack of stimulation can increase their frustration and lead to depression.

It’s important to find satisfying and enjoyable activities for people living with dementia or Alzheimers to participate in to help improve their self-esteem and life satisfaction.

What Is A Comfortable Retirement Income In Australia?

A comfortable retirement income will depend on the person’s individual needs, including the lifestyle they want in retirement and any debts or other costs they might still have to pay. These might include a mortgage, travel costs, extra medical costs or any outstanding student loans. It may also depend on whether the person stops working at the retirement age of 65 or if they don’t stop working until after that.

The amount of money needed in retirement will also vary depending on whether the older person typically lives a comfortable or modest lifestyle.

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) provides industry retirement standard estimates for single people and couples. You can find these estimates here.

What Are Some Of The First Things To Do When You Retire?

It can be jarring at first to go from decades of working full time to all of a sudden having total freedom. This is why it’s important to reconsider how and where you’d like to spend your time when you retire. Some examples of things you might want to do when you retire include:

  • Move somewhere else – if there is somewhere you’ve always wanted to live or you’ve had to stay in one place for a while because of a job then you may want to consider moving.
  • Travel – if there is somewhere you never got to visit when you were younger or only recently realised you wanted to visit.
  • Get a part-time job that you enjoy or do some volunteer work
  • Exercise more

What Are Good Hobbies For Retirees?

Retirement can be a great opportunity to explore new hobbies or interests, or simply make more time for old ones. Every individual is different and has different skills and interests, so it’s important to choose the activity that interests you. There are a wide range of activities available, including some that you may have never considered.

Good hobbies for people living with Alzheimers or dementia should help them maintain their residual skills and keep their mind stimulated. It’s also important for these activities to be failure-free. Something as simple as folding laundry or setting the table can be a revitalising activity for a dementia resident.

Outdoor Hobbies For Retirees

Outdoor activities are well suited to people who enjoy adventurous and challenging hobbies. These activities are often great for people who get restless when they have to stay indoors.

Plan A Holiday

If you’re interested in going on a holiday, you might consider whether you want to travel interstate or internationally or perhaps just take a day trip. Depending on the location and type of holiday you choose, this could allow you to experience new things or simply just relax. The process of planning the holiday may also bring you a sense of excitement and anticipation.

Short outings can also be helpful and enjoyable for dementia residents, even if they don’t remember it afterwards.

Become A Tour Guide

Working as a tour guide could provide you with a fulfilling part time job that gives you the opportunity to socialise outside of your home or retirement village. Being a tour guide would also give you the opportunity to learn interesting historical and cultural facts about the place of the tour and then share this wisdom with visitors.

Volunteer In The Community

Volunteering could provide you with the opportunity to give something back to your community as well as spend time making new friends and acquaintances. Volunteering might also help to make you feel like you’re part of a team. You may want to look for volunteer opportunities in a local office or local library.

Grow A Garden

Growing a vegetable garden could give you a calming and rewarding task that will also provide you with fresh produce to use in cooking. You may want to consider using a raised garden bed so that you don’t have to bend over when gardening. This hobby also has the potential to allow you to spend quality time outside, giving you extra vitamin D and boosting your mood.

Learn How To Dance

Dancing is a hobby that is a great mood booster for anyone, regardless of skill level. Taking up dancing helps to reduce your blood pressure, improve your heart health and give you a fun source of physical activity.

Stay Fit And Active

Getting regular exercise becomes more and more important as you get older. Maintaining fitness levels is essential for reducing the rate of physical decline. Not only does exercise help to maintain muscle mass and stabilise your blood pressure, it also improves balance and helps to prevent joint problems. At least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a day can also boost your mood and improve your brain function.

For those who live in an aged care facility, there may be classes or groups available to encourage and facilitate physical activity. This might include walking groups, strength training and gardening activities.

Creative Hobbies For Retirees

Write A Book

If you enjoy writing, this could be a great opportunity to get some of your experiences down on paper. Or if you’ve ever had an idea for a novel, now might be the time to write it. You could self-publish it online or try to contact a traditional publishing house. If the idea of writing an entire book seems too daunting, you could start a blog instead.

Create Some Art

Many people are hesitant to make art because they believe it won’t be any good, but making art can be great for reducing stress and building self confidence. This can include activities like rolling playdough, scrapbooking, making your own cards using magazines and stickers and painting. These activities are also ideal for enhancing dexterity.

Activities like this can also be a great opportunity to stimulate memories for a dementia resident. Scrapbooking using old photographs, keepsakes or drawings can help them tap into earlier memories.

Study A Language

Learning a new language can have a number of benefits for a retiree. It helps your mind stay active, increasing focus and improving problem-solving and multitasking abilities. There is also evidence to suggest that learning a second language can delay the onset of alzheimers and dementia. Additionally, learning a new language can improve your travel experiences and increase your opportunities for social connection.

Learn An Instrument  

Learning an instrument is another great way to help your mind stay active. Even if you put the instrument down and don’t pick it up again for a while, even just learning to read music can make it easy to pick up again later.

Many dementia residents enjoy creative hobbies like playing instruments, especially if it’s a skill that they’ve retained from their younger years. Playing instruments can provide a sense of relaxation and pleasure.

Online Hobbies For Retirees

Start A Small Business

If you’ve ever had an interest in becoming an entrepreneur this could be your chance. You could open up shop for anything that you’re good at or have an interest in. This could be a great way to fill your days without feeling pressured to make money straight away.

Consider Online Dating

Online dating might seem like a scary prospect, especially if you’ve been out of the dating game for a while; but if you take small steps you might find it worthwhile. You could start by joining an app for making friends or finding people with the same interests as you, such as the Meetup app. When you’re ready to start looking for a partner, you could recruit a friend or family member to help you set up your profile. Even just talking to new people could help to reduce loneliness and increase your self confidence.

Educational Hobbies For Retirees

Become A Tutor

Sometimes people pursue teaching as a second career when they’re older, because they have so much more wisdom and knowledge to impart. However, this requires extra study, so if you’d like something a bit less intensive you could try signing up for an online tutoring platform to mentor young people.

Begin An Online Course

Whether you want to attend a course on campus or online, pursuing further education in something you’re interested in could help you learn new skills and stay socially connected. There are a number of short courses available for you to choose from. Popular short courses for seniors include web design, graphic design and coding.

Online courses can be a great idea for retirees living in an aged care home, because it adds structure to their days while still allowing them to remain in a safe and supported environment.

Sort Out Your Finances

Retirement can change the way you spend your money. Creating a budget for your retirement years can be a useful way to spend your time, especially if you monitor the budget and stay on track. You may want to seek advice from a financial expert to help you set achievable goals.

Read A Book

Reading is great for reducing stress, improving concentration and memory and stimulating your imagination. You could read fiction books such as The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer or Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. If you prefer non-fiction or self-help books, you could try something like How To Retire Happy by Stan Hinden. 

Reading can also be a great way of facilitating social connection if you’re able to join a book club. These are often available for those who live in an aged care facility.

Taking Care Of Your Health In Retirement

Taking care of your physical, mental and nutritional health is essential for enjoying your retirement and avoiding major health concerns. Staying physically active is important for helping to control your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol and maintaining a healthy diet will help you stay energised and reduce your risk of developing chronic health conditions. Physical activity is also important for improving your mental health, especially because a lot of older people find the transition to retirement stressful and challenging.

Physical Health

The general recommendation is to get at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every day and to reduce the amount of time you spend sitting down. If you have pre-existing health conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis or a heart condition, you should talk to your doctor about what activities will best suit you. Some great activities for older people include swimming, walking, cycling and golf. When it comes to health, it  is also important to keep residential care facilities in mind if you decide to consider residential aged care. 

Mental Health

The prospect of going from working full time to having to find something to fill your days can be daunting and it’s important to take steps to manage your mental health. Some of the key factors in maintaining good mental health as a retiree include finding purpose and enjoyment, making social connections and accessing support services when you need them. Retirement can leave some people feeling bored and isolated, so it’s important to maintain good physical health and a good diet in order to boost your mood and keep you motivated.

Maintaining the mental health of a person with dementia or Alzheimers might also include participating in sensory activities like aromatherapy, or cognitive activities like knitting or crocheting.


The nutritional needs for older adults are often different to those recommended for a young person. Calcium becomes more important in order to maintain bone strength and reduce the risk of problems like osteoporosis. Vitamin D, omega-3 oils and protein are also essential to prevent health problems like heart disease and maintain muscle mass. It may be helpful for you to speak to a dietician to understand your personal nutritional needs.

Planning for Future Aged Care Needs

It can be helpful to consider what you might need before you retire, so that you’re not overwhelmed with so many decisions at once. Making decisions about your future health and support needs can make the transition easier.

How To Choose What To Do In Retirement

It can be intimidating to start making decisions about what to do with your life after you retire. You might be feeling some anxiety about where to start, so here are a few ideas for questions to help get you thinking:

  • If you were to design an improved version of yourself and your life, how would it be different?
  • When were you the happiest and why?
  • What hobbies or activities do you enjoy?
  • What skills or interests do you have?
  • What are 5 things that you would stop doing tomorrow if you could?

There are a wide variety of ways to spend your free time once you retire, so you should think about what interests you. You’ll have the opportunity to participate in a number of events and activities at Kew Gardens Aged Care in Melbourne, as well as access to an extensive support network. Contact us today using our online form, or phone us directly on (03) 9261 8600 to find out more information.

Jun 15, 2022