Podcasts may be most popular with the younger set, but adults aged 55 and over are beginning to catch up. After all, a podcast is just the modern version of a serial radio program — with added benefits.
Instead of tuning in at a specific time, you can listen — or sometimes, watch — a podcast at your convenience. You can also subscribe to most podcasts, which will automatically download new episodes and notify you when they’re available.
According to recent research, the number of older adults who listened to a podcast in the last month nearly doubled between 2017 and 2020. Whether you’re looking for a podcast to entertain or to educate, podcasts are a great way to boost senior engagement and keep learning as you age.
Where to Listen to Podcasts
Podcasts can be accessed on a smartphone, tablet, or personal computer. If you want to listen on an iPhone® or Android® smartphone or tablet, you already have a built-in podcast app. However, you can also listen to alternative apps like Stitcher, Pocketcasts, or Spotify, which you can find in your smartphone’s app store.
Most apps are free, although some offer paid versions that eliminate the ads. Using it on a laptop or desktop computer is even more accessible. The Podcast Host notes that “Nearly every podcast has a play function directly on their episode pages. Navigate to the podcast page, look for the play button, and listen.”
Once you’ve decided how you want to listen, your next step is to decide which podcasts interest you most. You can search for a topic in many apps to get recommendations, but we’ve provided some podcast recommendations below to make it even easier.
Podcasts About Aging & Senior Living
If you’re looking for tips for living well into the future and topics related to senior living, you have plenty from which to choose.
Doctor Leslie Kernisan is a geriatrician who teams up with other experts to talk about common health problems among adults over 60, with tips for preventing or managing issues surrounding aging. It's a great podcast for both seniors and those caring for an older loved one. With more than 100 podcasts already in the line-up, you're sure to find episodes of interest on topics ranging from hearing loss or long-term care to Medicare and estate planning.
Want to hear directly from seniors about retirement community living? The Linkage Podcast produced by Episcopal Retirement Services covers many issues and interests of older adults, including interviews from residents to give listeners insights into programs offered across their retirement communities (including the Episcopal Church Home!) and the real-world impact they have for residents.
This podcast brings an upbeat attitude to the table, featuring “fresh and inspiring perspectives on aging successfully, no matter how much help we may need adapting to growing older.” Guests talk about a wide range of topics, from technology for seniors to how worrying impacts health and strategies for managing anxiety.
Brain fitness is a hot topic among the senior set, and the BrainShape Podcast tackles the subject with episodes with lifestyle tips for promoting brain health. Host Dr. Andrea Wilkinson, a specialist on cognitive aging, shares her insights and has conversations with other experts on issues related to the brain and aging, from the link between exercise and brain health to understanding dementia.
If you’re caring for aging parents, this podcast is just for you. Hosted by Certified Caregiving Consultant Elizabeth Miller, the podcast features stories and advice from “Real people who are figuring out how to integrate caregiving with their lives and ready to share what they have learned with you.”
Podcasts That Activate Your Brain
Podcast lengths vary from a quick five-minute listen to hour-long episodes, but regardless of the listening time, they’re a great way to keep your mind engaged. You’re never too old to learn — or have a good laugh. If you want to listen to podcasts that educate and entertain, you have plenty of options to choose from too. Here are a few options.
If you enjoy watching Jeopardy, give Ask Me Another a listen. This NPR-produced podcast features celebrity guests and trivia, leading to plenty of laughs. Fans of the show say it’s “like an amusement park for your brain.”
History, music, and film buffs alike will enjoy this program, which showcases the “forgotten histories and secrets of Hollywood” back in its early days. Explore episodes organized by seasons here, including the 16-episode “Star Wars” series on the World War II experiences of high-profile stars like John Wayne, Bette Davis, Frank Sinatra, and Marilyn Monroe.
As the name suggests, this is another podcast for history buffs. The episodes often highlight lesser-known historical figures and events and are organized by historical topics to choose what interests you most.
Want the authentic, retro radio show experience? Lux Radio Theatre features episodes broadcast from 1934 to 1955. Each program adapts a Broadway play or Hollywood film, with famous stars performing the roles, complete with the vintage radio ads from the original performances.
The possibilities are endless. With hundreds of thousands of podcasts and millions of episodes, there’s a podcast for every interest at any age — and most listeners will agree that podcasts are great for keeping your mind active. You just need to start exploring; most apps will recommend other podcasts based on your listening habits.