With summer right around the corner, you may already be making plans for yourself, and your senior loved one.
The winter months may seem to drag on for caregivers as there are fewer opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Now, you’re likely ready to get out and absorb some vitamin D.
It’s important for caregivers to engage in summer activities and hobbies to care for their mental health and well-being. Without self-care, caregivers are more prone to caregiver stress and caregiver burnout.
The fresh air, sun, and warm weather are great for seniors too.
COVID-19 made it difficult for families to get together over the past couple of years and enjoy activities together. While it doesn’t seem that the virus will be going away anytime soon, we have all learned how to protect and care for our loved ones during these times.
If you’re looking for ideas to elevate your and your loved one’s well-being this summer, continue reading below. We’ll share fun activities and the benefits of going outside.
Elevate your own well-being as a caregiver
Caregivers often spend more time indoors than they would like. When caring for a senior loved one, you often base your plans on their wants and needs.
Fortunately, there are many activities that you and your loved one can do together that can improve both your physical, mental, and emotional health.
For outdoor activities that your loved one cannot engage in, you can ask another family member or friend to watch over them while you are out or invest in an adult care program for the day.
If it’s becoming too difficult for you to care for your loved one alone, you may also consider transitioning them to an assisted living or memory care community. This can help you and your loved one live a higher quality of life.
Top 10 activities for caregivers and seniors
Indoor and outdoor activities can be beneficial to your loved ones’ mood, memory, and health.
We have included both types of activities to help you, and your senior loved one make the most of your summer, on even the hottest days.
1. Art therapy
During the sun-filled months, seniors may enjoy making crafts that emphasize summer, bright colors, and happiness.
Some crafts that you can do with your senior loved one include making birdhouses, birdseed wreaths, sun catchers, and painting glass or rocks.
Exercise is great for those of any age. Depending on loved ones’ abilities, you may do yoga or tai chi together.
For seniors that are still quite mobile, together, you can do leg extensions, arm raises, bridges, lunges, planks, and chair squats. Exercising together can be much more fun than doing it alone.
Going for a walk with your loved one can help you both stay active and reap various health benefits, such as lower blood pressure, lower heart rate, and fewer feelings of depression and anxiety.
It can also be fun to walk a pet if you have one and if your loved one’s community allows it.
3. Board games and puzzles
There are various board games that even seniors with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia can enjoy.
Some favorite games include bingo, checkers, I-spy, or PicLink, a multi-game set of 36 tiles designed specifically for use by people with cognitive and memory impairment.
4. Watch movies
Watching movies with a loved one can be fun, and bring you closer to them, giving you opportunities to create new memories you’ll cherish.
For some seniors, old movies and television shows may even trigger old memories, giving them the chance to share stories with you.
This is a relaxing pastime that will help you and your loved one breathe in the fresh air, develop more patience, lessen stress, and enjoy nature’s beauty.
Birdwatching is also known to promote mental awareness and togetherness.
6. Enjoy a cold treat or picnic
Even if your loved one isn’t able to leave their community, you can bring a picnic or ice cream to them.
This is a great way to maintain social connections, enjoy the outdoors, and stay cool.
7. Catch a sunset
Sunsets can have psychological effects that can put you in a better mood and make you feel less stressed, more peaceful, and less anxious.
If this isn’t on your bucket list for the summer, it should be.
Horticultural therapy is beneficial to those of all ages, but especially seniors. Gardening can be a form of occupational therapy that improves the immune system, relieves stress and anxiety, and gives a sense of accomplishment.
9. Play games
While it is fun to play indoor games, outdoor games can be fun too.
Many seniors enjoy playing cornhole, giant Jenga, and jumbo checkers.
10. Local community events
For seniors living independently, you may consider a local sporting event, outdoor theater showings, flea markets, craft shows, and farmer’s markets.
Benefits of going outside
Getting outdoors to engage in physical activities or even sit and breathe in the fresh air can promote a better night’s sleep and help fight osteoporosis, anxiety, and depression.
Sunlight is also known to improve brain health and heart health, making it a priority for older adults and those fighting memory diseases.
You won’t want to skip out on the nutrients and vitamins that the sun, fresh air, and soil release. The sun and soil can boost your immune system and blood cells, protect your bones, and help prevent many illnesses.
Many adults develop seasonal affective disorder during the winter months because of the lack of sunlight. The symptoms of this disorder will fade away once summer is here, and there are more opportunities to go outside.
Make the most of this summer and promote a balanced lifestyle
As a caregiver, you may want to include your senior loved one in many outdoor activities, but don’t feel guilty if they can’t join you for them all.
While it can be challenging to do things on your own, it will be great for your mental and emotional health.
To be the best caregiver and help your loved one the most, you must be healthy, including mentally healthy. They depend on your health, almost as much as you do and it’s okay to take some time away from them when you can.
Plan ahead and schedule time for yourself on your calendar if you need to. If you add it to your schedule, you’re more likely to stick to it.
Reach out to Kensington Senior Living for advice and upcoming events
At Kensington Senior Living, we understand how difficult it is to be a caregiver. Our team knows how easy it is for overwhelmed caregivers to neglect themselves and become burnt out.
Our team is here to support you and your loved one as we extend Our Promise to love and care for your family as we do our own.
Our communities offer your senior loved one a safe place to live, which you will find beneficial for you and your loved one.
Our independent living, assisted living, and memory care communities offer high acuity around-the-clock care, on-site nurses, on-site rehabilitation services, wellness opportunities, exquisite dining services, and life enrichment activities.
Contact us to learn more about our warm and cozy homes and their security features.