We can’t be outside all year, but when the warm weather comes, we should take advantage of it!
One major advantage of spending time outdoors is Vitamin D. Unlike other vitamins, Vitamin D can be produced within our bodies. The catch: it requires sunlight. Vitamin D is beneficial for the brain, bones, muscles, and many other parts of the body. It can improve mental function and may even help to prevent cancer.
Additionally, being outside may provide many social benefits. Interaction with other adults, children and even animals can provide excitement and fun, which can translate to enhanced mental health and decreased chance of depression.
Some seniors may feel limited by the activities they “can’t do” or things they “used to do.” Caregivers may be concerned about logistical issues such as bathroom access, wheelchair support, and easy fatigue. Seniors can be helped ahead of time with physician advice to aid the elder in building muscle support so that he can get out and enjoy time with others. Caregivers can prepare ahead to manage some of those challenges and ensure that access to facilities is available.
Here are some outdoor activities that seniors can do, while enjoying the warm weather and fresh air.
Attend a sporting event: From a professional game to a child’s soccer or baseball game, outdoor sporting activities are great for senior sports-enthusiasts and are not often all-day activities which allows the senior to participate for a short period of time.
Fishing from a pier: For seniors who like to fish, a rod can be cast from a pier, a dock or a bridge where allowed. The senior can fish as long as he wants and the activity can be done from a wheelchair as needed.
Take a tour: A bus tour is a good option for those who live in a city or a boat tour if you live in the right area. Some areas operate short train trips which can also be fun. Make sure that you know how long the tour will take before you go and whether there will be time allowed for restroom breaks and such.
Go for a swim It may be just a dip in the pool or a full-out swim with exercise, but most everyone enjoys a little water fun.
Plant some flowers: You don’t need a big garden to enjoy the outdoors. Some porch flowers, window boxes, or planter vegetables can provide a reason to get outside. It also helps lift the spirits to watch things grow and you may have pretty flowers or even vegetables as a side benefit.
Have an outdoor picnic: This is especially enjoyable for family gatherings. It can be arranged at holidays or just over a weekend and it doesn’t have to be big, just a meal outside in the summer air.
Caregivers should ensure that seniors avoid sunburn, do not get overheated and remain hydrated. Heatstroke or dehydration can be a major health threat so make sure the senior does not spend a great deal of time in direct sun, wears loose and comfortable clothing and drinks plenty of water. If the senior exhibits any signs of dehydration or overheating such as red skin that has stopped sweating, confusion or fatigue, seek medical attention.
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