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A beginner's guide to podcasts for older people

20th May 2020


Podcasts are a great home entertainment option, and something many older people may not have discovered yet but it is now growing in popularity due to wider knowledge. With the familiarity of radio but with the modern benefit of instant accessibility, podcasts have a lot to offer the older generation. With a plethora of podcasts on almost any topic, there is no better time to get lost in a good podcast and learn something new or laugh your way through the day.

This guide takes you through how to get started with podcasts and provides some recommendations of good podcasts to get you going.

What is a podcast?

What are podcasts? If you’re familiar with the radio, think of them as radio programmes that are available whenever you like and can be listened to on a number of different devices. You don’t have to tune in at a particular time, the programmes can be accessed whenever you’re ready – as long as you have the device to listen to them.

A podcast can be about absolutely anything and there is a podcast out there on almost any topic! Whether you want to listen to a true crime podcast, listen to recent sporting highlights or hear your favourite comedians in action, they’re never too far away.

How to listen to a podcast

There are a number of ways to listen to podcasts, and they all involve using a device – desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Podcasts can be listened to on a number of streaming services or listening apps. You can find some of the best places to listen to podcasts below:

  • Spotify – Spotify is home to not only music but a selection of some of the world’s best podcasts too, you’ll find almost any podcast about any topic on here.
  • Apple’s Podcast – Apple have their very own podcast app that offers a selection of amazing podcasts at the touch of a button.
  • Google Podcasts – If you don’t use an iPhone, the easiest way to listen to a podcast is via the Google Podcasts App.

Need some extra help? If the above is gobbledegook to you and you’d like some technical advice, get help from a friend or family member, or contact Digital Unite, who specialise in helping to get people online. You can find one of their tutors in your area by calling 03333 442264.

Top podcasts to listen to

So you’re well on your way to getting stuck into podcasts – great! There are hundreds of thousands of podcasts out there, and plenty of good podcasts to get started with. Here are some of the best there are so you can get stuck into the greats and see how much variety there is in the world of podcasting.

There are snippets of the podcasts so– just click play to hear a sneak peek before finding out more.

Informational and real-life podcasts

Informational and real-life podcasts can come in all shapes and sizes, from podcasts about new and upcoming books to true crime podcasts and informative nature conversations, you’re not going to be short of wonderful, discussion filled podcasts to listen to.

The Black Tapes

You just can’t place this podcast – it’s mysterious, is it fact or fiction? Well, it is technically fiction, but the style of it will mean you have to keep reminding yourself of that fact. This serialised docudrama follows one journalist’s search for truth amongst the mystery of paranormal activity – ghosts, spirits, demons, and the mysterious past of one Dr Richard Strand.

To listen

Listen to The Black Tapes Podcast:

The Black Tapes on Spotify

The Black Tapes on Apple Podcasts

Radio Diaries

Since 1996, Radio Diaries has been telling extraordinary stories of ordinary life. They have collaborated with people from all walks of life and record their stories into a fascinating collection of true tales – organised into diaries, portraits or histories.

To listen

Listen to the Radio Diaries podcast:

Radio Diaries on Spotify

Radio Diaries on Apple Podcasts

Lore Podcast

This award-winning podcast tells true life scary stories. Lore explores the creatures, people and places that exist in not just our wildest nightmares, but real life too. Not for the faint-hearted, but a very entertaining show!

Described in the Spotify bio as: “Lore is a bi-weekly podcast (as well as a TV show and book series) about dark historical tales. Each episode explores the mysterious creatures, tragic events, and unusual places that fill the pages of history. Because sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction.”

To listen

Listen to the Lore podcast:

Lore on Spotify

Lore on Apple Podcasts

The True Crime Enthusiasts

The True Crime Enthusiasts does what it says in the title and tells true-crime stories from lesser-known tales to stories we will all find fascinating. Laura Martin who blogs at Miss L J Beauty said she loves listening to podcasts and she recommends this one:

“My favourite podcast is The True-Crime Enthusiast. I have always had an interest in crime. This is why I joined the police. I am no longer in the police but I still enjoy true crime. This fills the gap in my life. I find the host Paul really informative and easy to listen to. He focuses on lesser-known crimes mostly from the UK and Ireland. If like me you are a true crime junky you will love this podcast. 

“I find if I can manage to have some me-time with a podcast. This really helps to elevate my mood and gives me some escapism from my overactive mind. There are podcasts about everything no matter what your passion there will be a podcast for you so take the plunge and get stuck into a new hobby.

To listen

True Crime Enthusiasts on Spotify

True Crime Enthusiasts on Apple Podcasts

The Paris Review

Ashley Lusk, Co-Editor of The Bello Collective, recommends The Paris Review Podcast. Ashley explained a little more about why podcasts are a popular choice at the moment and why The Paris Review comes highly recommended:

“While I also love books and films, what makes podcasting so special is that I can listen to my favourite shows while I'm doing other things. It's a perfect companion for long car rides or train commutes, and there is always a podcast on my smart speaker while I do laundry or make dinner. If you're looking to try something a little different, check out The Paris Review podcast. Much like the magazine, the episodes are filled with fiction, poetry, and interviews, but with the added element of sound design, it can truly transport you.”

The Paris Review takes you behind the scenes of literature, blending stories, writers and tales of the book.

To listen

The Paris Review on Spotify

The Paris Review on Apple Podcasts

The Daily Pep

“The Daily Pep! is the rebel-rousing, daily podcast for courage makers, creative, multi-passionate and unconventional women” says Spotify.

Kelle from Kelle's Space loves listening to podcasts and recommends The Daily Pep for those who want some food for thought:

“My favourite podcast right now is The Daily Pep. I like this podcast because it provides some real food for thought during these unprecedented times. Also, each episode is about 3-5 minutes long, so it's a great way to prepare yourself for the day ahead.

I think more people should start listening to podcasts because they are a great form of escapism and entertainment. There are so many different types of podcasts out there, so it is easy to find one to listen to whatever your interests may be. Podcasts can help our wellbeing by calming our minds as well as improving our moods. They also promote a sense of focus because every podcast has its own specific goal.”

To listen

Daily Pep on Spotify

Daily Pep on Apple Podcasts

Bon Appetite Foodcast 

Bon Appetite Foodcast gives you a taste of foodie favourites from across the globe, with interviews from chefs, food writers and lovers of all things food. With episodes every week, you’re never too far from a tasty bite into the world of professional cooking

Jupiter from Life with Jupiter and Dann recommends Bon Appetite Podcast for those who are bored of watching telly and want to enjoy a light-hearted laugh as well as learning some top tips from professional chefs: “There are also so many podcasts! From individuals talking about their days to special hobbies podcasts on niche things - you can find a podcast for literally everything. I'm a huge fan of cooking so I really enjoy the Bon Appetit Foodcast - which features content creators from the Bon Appetit YouTube channel, adding to the YouTube videos they upload. At the moment, their podcasts talk about developing recipes at home, which fits in with stuff that I am currently doing while in lockdown.

Jupiter went on to explain why she loves listening to podcasts during the lockdown and how it helps her cope: “While in lockdown, there is only so much TV that can be watched. Podcasts, for me, are far more convenient as you can listen to podcasts while getting various activities done around the house and in the garden, as podcasts don't rely on you being able to see a screen. During times when we are stuck indoors, having different media to listen to and enjoy is just essential for keeping ourselves entertained.”

To listen

Bon Appetit Foodcast on Spotify

Bon Appetit Foodcast on Apple Podcasts

Sleep With Me Podcast

Sleep With Me podcast is designed to be boring, and in doing so it helps you get to sleep – you’re distracted enough from your thoughts to stop them running around your head and bored enough for your attention not to be ‘held’. It’s a great idea!

In Drew Ackerman’s own words: “As you listen you will find yourself distracted from your worries and drifting off into dreamland, due to the fact the story gets a little bit more boring with each passing minute.

It is impossible to really describe what happens in each podcast, for instance in ‘Worcestershire and Cheddar Bacon Soup | Real-Time Recipes’ it’s a full 14 minutes before he actually gets into the episode. Even so, it is designed to help you get to sleep and does so very well.

To listen

Sleep With Me Podcast on Spotify

Sleep With Me Podcast on Apple Podcasts


Criminal tells the stories of crime – from the people who have done wrong, to the people who have been wronged, as well as the people caught in the middle. 

Spotify describes it as: “Criminal is a podcast about crime. Not so much the "if it bleeds, it leads," kind of crime. Something a little more complex. Stories of people who've done wrong, been wronged, and/or gotten caught somewhere in the middle.”

To listen

Criminal on Spotify

Criminal on Apple Podcasts

Entertainment podcasts

Evil Genius

Hosted by Russel Kane, if you’re after a podcast that’ll make you laugh, Evil Genus is the podcast for you. Each episode is based on a famous celebrity, with the aim of figuring out if they are a villain or a hero.

Steph Whyte who blogs at From The Whyte House recommends Evil Genius explaining a little more about why: “I have found so many great podcasts recently but one I am particularly loving is Evil Genius which is on BBC Sounds. The name might not suggest it but it actually is a comedy podcast. Each episode the panel discusses a person from history who is either thought of as a genius or evil and try and argue against this label. For example, was John Lennon actually an evil person? The episodes are about 30 minutes long which is a nice length of time. Short, punchy but interesting.”

To listen

Evil Genius on Spotify

Evil Genius on Apple Podcasts

That Story Podcast

“My all-time favourite podcast is That Story Show. It's a family-friendly, clean-comedy podcast that always makes me laugh. They share lots of funny life stories. This is the podcast I like to save for when I can really enjoy it, or when I have to do something I hate (like mowing the grass).” says Daniel J. Lewis who runs The Audacity Podcast.

That Story Show combines real-life stories with clean comedy, run by hosts James Kennison and John Steinklauber it provides weekly laughs perfect to cheer up the day.

Daniel explains why he thinks more people should listen to podcasts: “There are now more than 1 million podcasts, so no matter your interests, there's probably a podcast for you! Listening to podcasts can inspire you, give you a smile when you need it, feed a passion no one around you is interested in, connect you with a community of like-minded people, keep you entertained or mentally stimulated, and educate you on topics you want to know. Plus, listening to podcasts is easier than consuming any other kind of media because you can listen while doing other things, like driving, working, household chores, exercising, and more.”

To listen

That Story Show on Spotify

That Story Show on Apple Podcasts

Times like these can be difficult, especially for those with limited mobility who may often use stair lifts, but things like podcasts can bring joy to those who cannot leave their home, with so much variety to offer, start exploring your favourite podcasts today and enjoy a whole new world of online fun and laughter.

Are you interested in more help and guide related content from Age UK Mobility?


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