Spring is when seniors spring into action!
Improving or at least maintaining general health is an obvious goal when caring for the elderly, but active aging is about much more than that. What about a person’s mental well-being?
This is why aspects such as participating in a community—whether with family or peers—should also be a priority. And using the outdoors is also vital since it’s been proven to positively impact mental AND physical health.
But what does active aging outdoors look like in practice? Here’s a list, ideal for the upcoming spring months when warmer weather allows for more outdoor excursions.
Doing something as simple as taking a walk outside is a good start to your active aging plans. Movement will boost energy levels so you have more drive to perform other tasks throughout the day. Also, you can benefit heart health and prevent bone and muscle deterioration.
Do consider proper gear when going outside, such as comfortable shoes that provide sufficient support and prevent injuries. Also, the elderly especially need protection against UV rays—for both skin and eyes. Use sunblock and wear quality sunglasses since UV light can hasten common eye problems in the elderly, such as cataracts.
Once again, remember to wear your glasses and sunblock, but do make time for gardening. While the physical movement is similar to getting some aerobic exercise, growing vegetables or beautiful flowers also gives a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
Creating a stunning flower bed sparks creativity and when you learn more about the plants you’re cultivating, you’re ensuring brain stimulation which could help maintain working memory.
Family Gatherings or Picnics
Use the warmer weather as a reason to organize a family gathering in a park, rather than just sitting around the dinner table inside. A picnic is a fun, informal event that will create anticipation beforehand, even for the elderly. You can watch the younger generation—your pride and joy—play games and have fun. Better yet, when seniors join in the fun, the interaction is great for a boost in spirits.
Tip: a comfortable folding chair is an easy solution for anyone advanced in years who finds it difficult to sit down or get up from the grass.
Self-care activities like spring cleaning are good for seniors because you can experience a sense of control. It can be satisfying to implement some order in a living space that has become cluttered. Many people report feeling calmer and more focused in a clean, organized environment. Also, sorting through items from the past can result in happy times of reminiscing and sharing life stories with those of the younger generation that came to help clean.
A proper spring clean can start with throwing out unwanted items, properly cleaning rooms, and then even holding a yard sale outside. This gives you a chance to interact with others and some more time outdoors to soak up the sun and enhance vitamin D production.
Getting Some Exercises
General outdoor activities are helpful, but it’s important to be intentional about exercising because the right movements can help with:
-Ensuring ongoing flexibility of joints
-Improve and maintain coordination and balance, so there’s less risk of falling and injuring
-Decreasing the risk of cardiovascular problems
It’s worth talking to a professional to identify the type of exercises an aged person needs to do, so you target the right muscle groups. Also, with expert guidance, you can prevent overexerting or injuring yourself during exercises.
Spring Tea Party
Spring activities don’t all have to be serious like an exercise session or cleaning up. Organize a tea party and invite family or old friends and enjoy the camaraderie. A tea party outside is also a good option if there’s a special day to celebrate, such as a birthday or anniversary. Let everyone dress according to a theme to make it even more exciting.
Photography combines a host of different skills, from planning ahead so you can capture the perfect shot at sunset, to
applying creativity to pick the perfect backdrop. Learning about high-tech camera equipment also creates another opportunity for brain stimulation. There can also be a sense of achievement when capturing a stunning picture that the whole family wants to print and hang on their walls.
Since this hobby requires you to move about and can be done outdoors, it’s a single activity that carries multiple benefits and perfectly aligns with the goal of active aging.
Creating More Art
Take creativity to a whole new level by expressing yourself through art. This can be writing stories for grandchildren or playing an instrument or a visual art such as pottery or painting.
Much of this can take place in the outdoors and even in the company of others, so you can enjoy fresh air, companionship, and a sense of accomplishment.
The goal of active aging is to ensure that as someone approaches the final years of life, they still enjoy the quality of life. For this to happen, it’s essential to use every opportunity and make the most of each day. Springtime makes it easy to do so, so what will be on your schedule this season?