The English Proverb, “No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow,” is an apt metaphor for all that we’ve endured over this last year. While we’re slowly coming out from under the cloud of the coronavirus pandemic, the return of flowers, leaves, and warmer weather has us looking forward to brighter days. Now, more than ever, we can all benefit from switching up our routines from time to time. For seniors and caregivers, a change of scenery (and being outdoors!) or a new experience is especially important in keeping a positive outlook and stimulating healthy cognitive activity.
Here are some fun activities to try with your loved one this spring:
Picnic in the Park
A picnic in the park is an excellent way to get out of the house, do some people watching, enjoy nature, and soak up the sun. Pack a fun lunch, plenty of water, and maybe a book or a deck of cards. Remember, seniors over the age of sixty-five are more prone to heatstroke and dehydration, so be sure to find a picnic table or bench in a shady spot.
Take a Walk
For mobile seniors, walking is immediately accessible, and its benefits are numerous. Walking improves circulation, strengthens muscles, eases joint and arthritis pain, reduces heart disease risk, and promotes good balance. Take a daily stroll around the neighborhood to improve mood and energy levels, as long as the weather is appropriate.
It’s been shown that any physical activity, including gardening, can decrease one’s risk of dementia, lower stress levels, improve mood, and aid in vitamin D production. If you don’t have the outdoor space to build a garden, consider purchasing pots and seeds that can be grown and tended for on a sunny windowsill.
Go for a Drive
If you or your loved one has difficulty with or isn’t interested in walking, taking a scenic drive is a fun alternative. Whether you have a final destination in mind or not, take the backroads, check out the local greenery, find your dream house, or discover a new favorite coffee shop. Taking a drive is also an excellent opportunity for you and your loved ones to catch up or listen to some of your favorite tunes from back in the day.
Check Out the Local Farmer’s Market
Many towns host a weekly farmer’s market where local vendors can sell their homegrown produce or handmade goods. Consider making it a part of your weekly routine. Strolling around the market is great exercise and, as an added bonus, you can take home healthy ingredients that support brain and body health.
Before planning any outing or new activity, consider your loved one’s abilities and interests to ensure that they have the best experience possible. Happy spring!