Spring has arrived. The season of flowers and warmer weather. It’s a great time of year to make sure your senior is getting out in nature and enjoying the sunshine. And most importantly, staying connected with you. When family is involved in the lives of their elderly loved ones, Spring becomes a season of hope. Here are some activities to inspire you as you plan your next visit.
A stroll through nature. Being outdoors surrounded by plants, flowers, trees and a big blue sky is very refreshing after the chilly Oklahoma winter days here in Oklahoma City. Seniors often need a little bit of encouragement to venture out into the great outdoors. They may be able to take short walks or sit in a wheelchair just long enough to make a little outing enjoyable for them. Check with your loved one’s caregivers and see what may be manageable for them. Many senior communities with assisted living or nursing home capacity have areas outdoors for their residents. Walking pathways with benches for rest opportunities or even sitting out on a patio can be good options. If your senior is able to enjoy longer outings, you could consider driving to a park nearby. It can still be a little chilly out, so packing light jackets and even a blanket can be helpful to keep everyone comfortable. Sometimes small things can really help too, like bringing along a pillow or cushion for them to sit on outdoors. Benches and chairs can be hard and uncomfortable. Seniors may not be able to tolerate sitting as long.
As soon as the weather is warm enough, take your senior on a little outing at a restaurant with an outdoor patio. You may need to bring a cushion for patio chairs as well as a little blanket incase there is too much of a breeze. It’s a great way to be outdoors, hear the birds and enjoy some sunshine while chatting over good food. If your loved one is not able to leave their home, consider bringing their favorite take-out meal and sit outside on their patio.
Practicing exercises. If your loved one is not able to go for walks or enjoy the outdoors, find out what daily exercises their caregivers have been doing with them. Seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia in a memory care program or those requiring specialized nursing care may benefit from smaller activities to help make them stronger. Talk with care providers about goals and how you can help. Spending time with your loved one can be encouraging, especially when they can show you progress. Bring along their favorite snack to celebrate every small accomplishment!
Community activities. Next time you visit Uncle Paul, grab a schedule for the month from the activities center. Many assisted living or senior communities provide residents with daily, weekly or monthly activities and special events to participate in. Encourage your loved one to participate, and find out if there is an event that you could also join in on. Family is often welcomed, but there may be restrictions based on Covid or other seasonal precautions. Check in with your senior and talk about past events and what they enjoyed most.
Bring Spring to them. It’s wonderful to live in anticipation and hope. Bright, cheerful colors and some seasonal decoration can help your senior enjoy the season right inside their home from the moment they get up each morning. Grandma may enjoy a new pedicure in bright pink or a bouquet of sunshine yellow tulips. A basket of Easter chocolates in brightly colored foils are fun – and tasty! For those in memory care or assisted living, you may find that a set of bright crayons or markers and an adult coloring book may be inviting as well as fun and relaxing. Your senior’s caregivers will be able to give you some guidance here and help you discover an activity that would be beneficial.
There are so many little ways to brighten up your loved one’s life. This Spring, make sure they feel loved and appreciated. Even if they are fortunate enough to be well cared for in an assisted living home setting, family will always remain the center of their heart and life. Just taking a little extra effort to visit them, make a phone call or write them a note will bring a lot of joy into their day. Make sure this Spring is a season of sunshine for them!