What can I do to help my mom start enjoying her retirement?

The golden years should be a time of celebrating the lives we've built. But for too many seniors, it also can be a time marked by sadness and, sometimes, depression. Caregivers often have the responsibility of helping a loved one cope with these emotions. With these six ideas, you can help your mother (or other loved one) truly start enjoying retirement.
  1. Spend time in nature. Encourage Mom to get outside and spend some time in the great outdoors. Whether she enjoys walking, bird watching, fishing, golfing or gardening, the fresh air will clear her mind. The exercise will release feel-good endorphins that will relieve her stress and energize her mood.
  2. Look at family photo albums. Encourage her to tell you stories from the most joyful times in her life. Ask about her childhood escapades and past adventures. The smiles and laughter will carry from the past to the present as she reminisces.
  3. Volunteer. Bringing joy to others has the tendency to make a person smile. Help Mom find a cause she is passionate about. She could spend time with other seniors, speak with teenagers, play with shelter pets or help with the community garden. Volunteering will increase her sense of purpose and reinvigorate her love for her community.
  4. Adopt a pet. Mom may love taking care of a pet. With their cuddles and unconditional love, a pet can reduce stress and lower blood pressure. A pet will encourage Mom to establish a routine and get out of bed – even when she doesn’t want to do so. Going for walks or to pet meetups is a fun way for Mom to socialize with like-minded people.
  5. Dance. Mom may not like the idea of exercising, but she may love learning to dance. She will be having so much fun she won't realize that she is working on her strength and balance. Line dancing and ballroom dancing are ideal for seniors who are just starting out. She will make new friends while staying active and healthy.
  6. Play games. Unlock Mom's competitive spirit by challenging her to a game. Card games, board games, video games -- there are many games other than bingo. You are sure to find one that Mom enjoys. Her mood will lift when she is focused on winning the game. Gather her friends to play for even more fun.
This content originally appeared on

Continue Learning about Senior Health

Seniors, Eat Your Vitamins…and Don’t Forget Your Protein, Too!
Seniors, Eat Your Vitamins…and Don’t Forget Your Protein, Too!
Q: My ankle has been chronically sore, so I had it x-rayed. It showed a bone spur. My doctor wants me to do physical therapy before deciding on surger...
Read More
How does age affect my risk of cancer?
Daniel R. Spogen, MDDaniel R. Spogen, MD
The risk of cancer increases with age. Abnormal cells are created in the body, but the immune system...
More Answers
What are the benefits of social interaction for seniors?
Sharine ForbesSharine Forbes
The Seattle Longitudinal Studies and MacArthur study which suggest that there is also a need for sen...
More Answers
How Can We Help America's Elderly?
How Can We Help America's Elderly?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.