Summer brings sunshine and fresh air, but for seniors who have mobility issues, the simple act of venturing outside can be difficult. Depending on the activity, going outdoors can help relieve boredom, increase vitamin D from sun exposure and boost physical exercise resulting in happiness and improved overall wellbeing.
Here are 5 outdoor activities to try one with your loved one today!
- Plant a garden. Seniors who need to use canes, walkers or wheelchairs may feel frustrated or inconvenienced in crowded public places. Planting a garden in the privacy of his or her backyard is a simple way to get your loved one outdoors without the stress of venturing too far from home. Planting flowers, fruits or vegetables will also give him or her something to look forward to as he or she watches the seedlings grow.
- Eat or read outside. Another convenient outdoor activity is to move breakfast or dinner outside when it is cooler in the early morning or early evening. This change of scenery will create an enjoyable and calming environment. Being outside in the fresh air is also said to increase concentration, making it an ideal place to read a book, which also promotes brain health.
- Having a picnic. Pack up a healthy pasta salad, sandwiches, fruit salad and plenty of water and drive to a local park or picnic setting. Ensure that there are tables at the destination to minimize the amount of time your loved one will have to spend walking or standing. Picnic tables near a lake are especially calming and enjoyable. Better yet, invite other family members and friends and enjoy the day out. Don’t forget your sunscreen!
- Painting scenery. Gather an easel, canvas, paints and a paintbrush and let your loved one choose a place that he or she would like to paint. This is a great activity because your loved one will have the freedom to choose where he or she would like to go and be able to sit and relax while enjoying their view. Ideas we recommend include a park, forest or local monuments and attractions.
- Attending a local event. During the summertime, there are plenty of free, outdoor concerts, plays and other events to attend. Look up your city’s calendar of local events and allow your loved one to pick the one that interests him or her the most. Arrive early to accommodate your loved one’s seating needs. If he or she is in a wheelchair, try sitting closer to the front to improve the visibility of the performers. If your loved one uses a cane or walker, bring collapsible chairs so that he or she can sit easily if needed.
It is important to ensure your loved one’s safety at all times especially when it comes to the summer heat. Help him or her dress appropriately for the weather and remember to bring a hat, sunglasses or a light jacket if needed. Avoid dehydration by having water on-hand and easily accessible, as loved ones with mobility issues may be embarrassed asking to go get a drink. Apply sunscreen to protect the skin and follow our 5 tips to protect your skin this summer.
If you can, plan these activities during the coolest hours of the day—the early morning or late afternoon are typically best. If you have a caregiver through a home care company, he or she will be able to work with your loved one to best accommodate his or her needs and preferences to make a day out stress-free and enjoyable. We wish everyone a happy summer!