Going outside in the fresh summer air is a wonderful way for elders and caregivers to spend their time together doing great outdoor activities for seniors. Going outside encourages light exercise and promotes socializing, which are both important parts for a healthy senior lifestyle. There are a handful of great outdoor activities for senior citizens to do that are easy for caregivers to arrange. As with anything, double check with the senior if they’re comfortable going outside. Sometimes seniors suffering from allergies need to be given a little extra care.
We share a curated list of the Helper Bees’ 8 favorite outdoor activities for seniors and caregivers to enjoy:
Gardening is one of the most popular outdoor activities for seniors. This is a great way for seniors to stay active and maintain strength and flexibility. This light aerobic activity is very beneficial and be incorporated easily into a daily routine.
A great way to stay active is through walks. Whether it be long hikes or a quick jaunt around the neighborhood, walking helps to maintain cardio in a senior’s lifestyle. It’s also a great way to get some fresh air and see the sights the environment around you has to offer.
3. Bird Watching
While birdwatching can sometimes be seen as a less exciting activity, it can really be beneficial in calming the mind and allowing for reflection. This is a great activity for seniors who wish to enjoy and connect with nature. It’s very soothing and therapeutic.
4. Outdoor Theatre / Music
Many local organizations will put on small music events or outdoor theatre showings that your or your loved one may really enjoy! Bring some snacks and a blanket and enjoy the sounds and scenery.
5. Fruit Picking
Fruit picking is a great way to get out and get some fresh air while partaking in mild exercise. If you live in an area that is more agricultural, you or your loved one might be able to benefit from small berry farms. Plus you get a nice snack from your berry-picking efforts!
6. Outdoor Craft Shows
Outdoor activities for the elderly can definitely include art. Outdoor crafts shows are filled with fun scenery, lively activities, and great opportunities to see some pretty neat art. You might be able to make some of your own!
A classic outdoor activity. Whether it be an extravagant and well prepared meal or a simple sandwich with a healthy side, picnics serve as a great way to get out and soak up some Vitamin D. Fresh air and good conversation are great for both seniors and caregivers. You can even arrange some picnic games for senior citizens.
An easy and enjoyable activity, photography can be enjoyed in the moment as well as later on. So grab a digital camera and go capture some memories!
In some cases, there are activities that are better suited to seniors with dementia. Seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or other neurological illnesses are likely to benefit from activities such as the ones listed on the Alzheimer’s site under senior activities. We list our favorite activities that we recommend caregivers and family members to try with their loved ones.
Ideally if a senior suffers from dementia, he or she should begin their day with a simple physical exercise but also end their day with a similar one. Depending on their condition this could be as simple as a chair exercises or a short walk. To perform simple chair exercises simply have the senior be seated in front of you and show them the exercise to perform so that they can mimic your movements. There are many chair exercises that you can do: our favorite chair exercise is the one where you sit down and play some music. Then gently move your hands at the rhythm of music doing different shapes in the air with your arms.
B) Play Music and sing alongs
Unlike most T.V. programs, music helps seniors affected by dementia relax and cheer up.
Try by having music with an easy to follow rhythm play in the room where the senior is and do a sing along. This can trigger positive responses in them. Make sure to alway ask the senior about their musical preference before starting. You can start the listening or singing activity with 20 minutes and then do more depending on how it goes. Try not to use sounds of nature that can be confusing and cause discomfort in elderly citizens, instead choose music with lyrics from the seniors’ own youth.
Helping out in the kitchen, doing things like mashing potatoes, mixing, pouring or measuring ingredients are very good neural activities that help physically too. Helping in the kitchen with simple tasks is one of the most effective activities for individuals with early or middle stage Alzheimer’s disease. These simple activities spark memories and can help foster conversations. As a caregiver always remember to praise all seniors’ efforts no matter how big or small.
D) Folding, Sorting and Smelling
In patients with more advanced forms of dementia, activities like folding clothes or sorting them, smelling food aromas and going through old pleasant pictures of joyful moments can help boost morale and brain activity but also spark conversations!
Many more ideas of activities for seniors with dementia can be found here.
By the way, if you’re interested in discovering a few extra tips for dealing with seniors affected by Alzheimer’s over the summer holidays, check the linked article out.
Wanting to get outside to try some of these activities? Our Helper Bees are expert caregivers who would be happy to help you or your loved ones get outside to enjoy some of these great outdoor activities!