Getting outside during the summer offers actual health benefits to seniors. A Harvard Health study explains that time in the sun raises Vitamin D levels and improves moods. (health.harvard.edu) For many seniors, a regular mood boost provided by outdoor activity can significantly enhance quality of life.
With health and safety in mind, seniors and their caregivers can enjoy being outdoors during the summer. We have created a list of summer activities that may be of interest to your senior loved ones.
- Visit a Local Pool or Lake: In the heat of summer, spending time near a water source is a great way to cool off. Some seniors may enjoy dipping their feet in the lake, while others may want to sign up for a water aerobics class. Fishing is also a popular water-related activity. For those who don’t want to get wet, taking a boat ride or simply sitting somewhere with a scenic water view can be refreshing.
- Bird Watching: For little or no money, bird watching can keep caregivers and seniors occupied and engaged all throughout the summer months. Whether relaxing in a nearby park or traveling to a wildlife refuge, bird-watching is fun and calming. For those who grow passionate about the activity, a few simple tools will enhance the bird-watching experience:
- Set of binoculars
- A few varieties of bird seed to scatter
- Notebook or checklist for recording sightings
- Birding app or book for identifying avian life
- Attend a Simple Sporting Event: Major sporting events may be difficult for seniors, especially events hosted in large arenas where extensive walking, climbing, and sun exposure are required. Local sporting events tend to be friendlier to the aging. Attend youth or recreational sports leagues’ games instead. Just bring a comfortable chair, kick back, and cheer from the sidelines.
- Play Classic Yard Games: Competitive seniors enjoy classic yard games. Caregivers and their seniors might run an informal summer tournament among friends or just between themselves. Just be sure to select yard games that are low impact and appropriate for senior limitations. Some popular yard games – many of which may be available at a local park or senior center –include:
- Bean bag toss
- Lawn bowling
- Pickle ball
- Check Out Local Festivals: Summer is high time for community fairs and local festivals, and many of these are back this year as vaccinations bring us out of the pandemic. Everything from craft shows to free concerts in parks make getting outdoors more exciting. Look for a community calendar on the local government or regional recreational websites.
- Take a Stroll: It’s basic, but taking a stroll is a pastime nearly everyone enjoys. Make going for a walk an outing by choosing different routes each day or driving to a scenic location to soak in the sights. Seniors will not only benefit from the sun, but also from the leisurely, healthy movement.
- Move It Outdoors: Many favorite hobbies can be moved outdoors on nice summer days. A deck with a table and umbrella or a shaded porch are great places to enjoy a variety of activities:
- Painting or drawing
- Puzzle books
- Scrapbooking (watch out for the wind!)
- Playing Cards
- Entertaining friends
- Building models
The hottest time of the day is typically around 3 pm. Schedule indoor activities for the mid-to-late afternoon to keep seniors from too much heat exposure. Many seniors benefit from napping or eating in an air-conditioned space between 2 pm and 4 pm when it’s hottest outside.
If you or your senior loved one is ready to get out but needs a little extra support with ambulation and activities, give us a call at Assisting Hands serving Columbus, OH. Our professional caregivers make great companions!
Sources: ClearCare, Farmer’s Almanac, Health.Harvard.edu