Earth Day was celebrated during the month of April and we are going to be seeing consistently warmer weather. There is no better time to share ideas for seniors staying at home that incorporates the principles of this special day while promoting physical activity and relieving feelings of isolation from being cooped up indoors. Taking advantage of fresh air and doing outdoor activities, for at least a few hours a week, in the yard, is an easy and great way for older adults, companions, and caregivers to spend time together.
Initially, companions should confirm that the individual is comfortable going outside. If the person feels uncomfortable or mobility prevents them from heading outdoors, many of these activities can be adjusted to be carried out inside by sitting close to a window.
With spring in full swing, there are many varieties of birds out and about, delivering potential for some good sightings. Bird watching from indoors or sitting outside can evoke feelings of calm, peace, and a connection to wildlife. Though this time of year brings many visitors looking for food or nest elements, setting out seed will attract larger numbers and varieties.
Local pet stores or garden centers are good sources to purchase birdseed from. Many are offering delivery or curbside pickup. These retailers are also likely to sell feeders if one is needed, but a DIY feeder made from recycled materials can also be used. The perfect way to further enhance this pastime is to use milk cartons or other objects from around the home to create several feeders to be placed in various locations around the yard. More feeders = more birds = more enjoyment.
Gardening is great for many reasons. Seniors can maintain strength and flexibility while caring for a flower, fruit, vegetable or herb garden. Container gardens work better for those with less physical ability. Waiting for growth gives gardeners something to look forward to. Once flowers bloom and produce becomes ripe, there will be a sense of accomplishment. Watering and upkeep will necessitate additional activity.
Picnics are a wonderful multi-purpose activity. Eating is a necessity, so it is a great idea to replace a kitchen table with a blanket or table set outside. The meal can be simple or elaborate. It can also be paired with reading, games, birdwatching, or the other activities that we shared.
Whether it is for an artist or novice, sketching/painting/photographing scenery and nature is calming and productive. The outdoors provides many sources of inspiration and beauty.
Work can be done at an easel, sitting at a table, or on a bench or grass. Art supplies can be purchased from craft stores that are delivering or doing curbside pick-up. If there is no camera available for photography, a mobile phone can be used in its place. Take lots of pictures of flowers and birds, learn about new plants and animals that live around the home!
Games and Crafts
Sitting outside to engage in traditional indoor hobbies like games and crafting can enable elders to soak up much needed Vitamin D while getting mood, brain, and dexterity boosting stimulation.
Outdoor bingo or a scavenger hunt can be created easily by aiming to find elements of nature such as animals, plants and insects. Board games and others like chess, checkers or cards can be set-up on card tables on a patio or under a tree. Puzzle books with word searches and crosswords can be placed on tables outside as well.
Knitting and needlework can also be done outside. Another perfect craft and nature activity is picking and pressing or drying flowers to create a pretty piece of art.
Enjoying the Scenery Benefits Cognitive and Physical Health
Spending time outdoors doing any of these activities or even something as simple as reading a book or listening to music, can foster a happier state of mind and a better sense of wellbeing. Many of these activities are feasible alone or with a companion. If your loved one lives at home and you feel that it may be time for a caregiver to offer help or provide motivation to adopt a healthy and active lifestyle, please feel to reach out to us with questions.