Keeping entertained, active and informed at home

Keeping entertained, active and informed at home

What can we do?

Whether you’re at home with all your family, or on your own and caring for someone who’s now on the end of a phone, there are plenty of ways to keep up to date, relax and stay in touch.


This is everyone’s main resource at the moment, from the obvious quick check on a trusted news source like the BBC, to some more relaxing viewing for all ages.

This is our chance to explore a wider range of channels – for some people that will mean signing up to a paid-for service such as Netflix or Disney+, but on standard Freeview there are plenty of options. With iPlayer on your TV or online, you can catch up on anything you’ve missed.

Fancy an old film? Try Talking Pictures (Freeview 81 or see their website for more), which shows mostly black and white films from classics, to family-friendly forgotten British B-pictures, and old TV series. And if you fancy a bit of nostalgia, you can find repeats on all sorts of channels showing everything from ‘Top Gear’ to ‘Murder She Wrote’ – Explore the full range your TV offers by scrolling up and down the ‘guide’ listing.

BBC and ITV are both revising their schedules to bring us a range of suitable programmes, from up to date information to the return of old favourites.

And there’s help with home-schooling as the BBC has daily educational programmes, aimed at children in years 1-10, and new online lessons for each age-group every day. Find out more here: BBC Bitesize.

Get moving – even indoors

Even when we’re at home and looking after a loved one, we need to keep moving and TV and technology can help. There are a huge range of fitness and exercise suggestions online, so find one that suits you. You can see some great suggestions on the Active Surrey website, and here are a few to try:

  • the NHS’s Live Well 10-minute workouts
  • British Heart Foundation 10-minute workout
  • 10 Today, fun, 10-minute workouts designed by and for older people
  • PE with Joe, Joe Wicks’ half-hour of exercise, especially good for families but can be done by anyone.
  • On BBC 1 every morning at 10am, Healthcheck UK Live explores health and wellbeing tips on how to survive and thrive, available to watch again on iPlayer at any time.

Arts and culture

We can’t go to the theatre, but lots of shows are coming to us for free.

  • Thanks to the BBC’s ‘Culture in Quarantine’ we can catch up on exhibitions, concerts and plays on BBC4 and on iPlayer. You can try life-drawing, or enjoy an evening of Mozart. We’ve got the best seats in the house for Shakespeare plays from the RSC and the Globe on BBC iPlayer: find out more here.
  • National Theatre at Home launches a free play every Thursday on YouTube from 7pm, available for 7 days. Coming up soon are a sparkling, gender-swapped ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ from the Bridge Theatre and Helen McCrory in ‘The Deep Blue Sea’.
  • Still free, but you need to sign up on the website: the recent musical of the Wind in the Willows.
  • Shakespeare’s Globe‘s ‘YouTube Premieres’ allow us to see plays for free: currently ‘A Winter’s Tale’ and ‘Macbeth’, with more to follow. BBC iPlayer also has the Globe’s ‘The Tempest’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.
  • If opera and ballet are more your taste, look out for The Royal Opera House’s ‘Our House to Your House’ series for free ballet and opera on film, with everything from a special concert to the ballet superstar Carlos Acosta in a delightfully pretty ‘La Fille Mal Guardee’.

Things to do at home

A breath of fresh air

On a bright day, get the windows open – and if you can get, outside. Otherwise, it’s great to see  spring coming: the blossom’s just beginning to show and leaves are budding everywhere. Looking out of the window, it’s amazing to see the difference from day to day.

White blossom

For some of us, this is the chance to do a bit of gardening, and even if we can’t do much, it’s worth trying a few seeds, or just enjoying what’s already there. Whether your personal plot’s a flowerpot on a windowsill, or rolling acres, you can still enjoy this year’s Chelsea Flower Show from home, with a ‘virtual Chelsea‘ of expert tips and ideas, and inspiring viewings of gardens big and small.







Rainbow pictures in window

If you’re not compeletely self-isolating, pick a quiet time and go for a quick walk down your street – look out for rainbows in the windows!


Make something

It’s time to rediscover those abandoned craft projects or explore something new.

If you’ve always wanted to draw, now’s the chance to give it a go. Just sit down and start, or there are lots of ‘how to’ videos online.

Is there some knitting lurking in your cupboard? A half-completed tapestry? It’s the sort of thing you can pick up and put down as other duties call, and the rhythmic nature is very good for you – ‘mindful’ and productive. Whether it’s sorting your stamp collection or repainting the back door, it’s good to have a project.

For more mental health tips see here

Lose yourself in a book

Now’s the time to read whatever you like, whether it’s that big literary challenge you’ve always meant to get round to, or pure escapism in the lightest chick-lit or spy thriller.

Surrey Libraries are closed for physical books (don’t worry if you haven’t taken your library books back) but you can get ebooks, or audio books online. Find out more here.Man reading


Or write something yourself

We’re living through a moment of history, and Surrey Local History Centre is keen to collect our experiences. Keep a diary, and let future generations understand our thoughts and challenges through our personal stories. Find out more at Surrey Local History Centre’s website.


Keep in touch with others

Of course, you can contact us at Action for Carers on 0303 040 1234, or text on 07714 075993, or email

Our staff are here to talk to you, to support carers of all ages and in all situations.

Gives you the feeling that there is a friend waiting to help me at the end of the phone – a lifeline!

Online forums

It can help to be in touch with other people with a similar caring role, to compare notes or share your worries. Find out about online forums for specific conditions here.

Make a call

Talk to other family and friends – whether about practical things like picking up some shopping, or just to keep in touch. If you’re technically-minded, there’s Skype for video calls or Facetime’s very easy if you have an iPhone or an iPad. Age UK have some straightforward tips here and Age UK Surrey‘s experienced ‘computer drop-in’ volunteers can help you find out how to master your computer. But an ordinary phone call allows us all to keep in touch.


If you’ve any suggestions to share, please drop us a line on

Further information and ideas


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