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Survey Results: Favorite Senior-Living Activities in Retirement

This is not your grandmother’s ideal retirement community.

Or … is it? It is if your grandmother is really into yoga and hiking, and she doesn’t give a hoot for pickleball or shuffleboard.

That’s from the findings of’s survey of more than 700 people between the ages of 50 and 89. We asked our respondents, in a voluntary survey conducted online May 10-31, 2016, what activities they want in a senior living community – and where they want that community to be.

Graphic of favorite senior living activities.

What we found is that today’s seniors and soon-to-be seniors reflect their Baby Boomer upbringings and want an active retirement. They want to exercise and yoga classes (39%), walking and hiking (36%), and swimming and water aerobics (34%). They also want to mingle! 24% of respondents favored singles nights and meet-and-greets as senior living activities.

What they don’t want are stereotypical “old folks” activities like shuffleboard, sing-alongs – or even Wii bowling.

More on Senior Living Activities

Among other top findings in our survey:

  • After working up a sweat exercising, respondents want some entertainment and culture. Favored senior living activities were trips to museums and cultural events (32%), movie nights (28%), arts and crafts (23%), and restaurant outings (20%).
  • Florida and California were by far the top two states for retirees. In fact, almost half of those surveyed (45%) reported that they are either already living in these states or plan to move to them in retirement. Read more about the most popular states for retirement.
  • The largest age group among our respondents was 60-64, at just over a quarter of those participating.
  • Women outnumbered men in responding to our survey in a 69% to 31% ratio.
  • Only 18% of men and 15% of women responding currently live in senior housing, so what they want could shape the future of retirement communities.

Full Results: Senior Activities Survey

What activities do or would most interest you in senior housing? (749 respondents, ages 50-89, survey conducted May 10-31, 2016)

Exercise / yoga classes 39.1%
Walking/hiking 36.2%
Swimming and water aerobics 34.0%
Trips to museums, cultural events 31.5%
Movie nights 28.3%
Singles nights / meet-and-greets 24.2%
Arts and crafts 22.7%
Restaurant outings 20.0%
Dancing 18.8%
Educational classes (languages, etc.) 18.3%
Cooking and baking 18.3%
Religious services and study 16.3%
Card and board games 16.2%
Bingo 13.8%
Gardening / flower-arranging 13.8%
Shopping trips 13.5%
Trips to sporting events 12.8%
Book clubs 12.7%
Other 9.6%
Billiards / ping pong 8.5%
Lawn games (horseshoes, mini-golf) 5.3%
Sing-alongs / karaoke 4.9%
Tennis / pickleball / badminton 3.2%
Wii sports and video games 2.8%
Shuffleboard 2.0%

Reports From Our Survey

What Men Want to Do in Retirement Homes: Go for a Walk!

What Women Want in Retirement: Activities for Body and Mind

Where Single Seniors Can Meet the Opposite Sex

Shuffle Off, Shuffleboard: The Least-Favorite Senior Activities

5 Most Popular States for Retirement in’s Survey

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  • Mark Edelen

    About :

    Welcome to the Retirement Living Blog. I direct and edit the blog for the best senior-housing and senior-living insight and advice, while also conducting search-engine optimization for the site as a whole. Follow me on Twitter @MarkEdelen.


    1. Mary Roiz-McArthy says:

      Born & raised in CA. My dads family lived in San Diego, Ca, all their lives. My mom moved 2 children to many differnt areas in Orange Co. 99% of our large family were & are longshoremen, worked most docks From San Diego to Washington state. Seven generations we’ve been here. I a little tired of the hustle & bustle here. I’m a disabled senior, have the most awesome service dog, we’re very active. He’s 6, I’m not but we go to all the beaches & surf. Go out a short distance, we love parks, mountain trails too. He good for me, when he knows I’m in pain. he lays down & stays down. We lay or sit until he says he’s ok to go. My protector & special angel. I was praying to move to Venice Beach/Santa Monica. I have section 8 voucher, I want that area to be my last move. I’d like a studio or small 1bdrm, apt, town house, condo, duplex, tri-plex, or if all those I mentioned are too pricey, can’t find one that takes sec 8, them maybe theres a very small rental house. I’m wanting to port out and port into tye areas I mentioned. Income is SSI/SSA 1st of month. Maybe you can give advice or help me in someway. Thhank you
      Mary Roiz-McArthy


    1. […] than 700 people between ages 50 and 89 took part in our senior living survey, which included the question of what state respondents live in or plan to retire […]

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