Spring is a perfect time to do activities with seniors. People can have fun at any age. The weather is nicer than just a few weeks ago. Sunny warm days can be a great reason to spend time in a fun activity with a senior.
Elderly are able to take part in a variety of activities the same as anyone. Including a loved one in any activity enhances the activity of the joy. Activities involving cognitive and physical activities enrich anyone, no matter age.
Seniors living in long-term care facilities spend the bulk of time managing to get through the day. Most never leave their home except for doctor office appointments and an occasional day out.
· Take a Sunday drive. Many elders enjoy a drive through the community checking out activity such as new construction or changes within. Some elders even prefer to compare water levels of ponds and lakes compare to last year. Many elderly enjoy viewing flowerbeds around the community.
· Go to the zoo/farm/school agriculture barn. Who doesn’t enjoy animals – baby animals? Spring is birth time for most species. Renting or borrowing a wheelchair is always a good idea for these outings. Watch the loved one for signs of fatigue, thirst and too much sun.
· Go to a restaurant. Now that snow/ice is not a problem, escorting a loved one to a restaurant is easier to navigate. Enjoying the meal at off-peak hours is a good idea. Less stress for everyone. Additionally, less background noise allows many to hear well.
· Visit an ice cream store. Going for a sundae or ice cream cone makes for a special treat in a day. Some may enjoy staying in the car to eat but others enjoy going inside to eat ice cream.
· School spring programs. Taking the elder to watch grandchildren perform in concerts, plays or other activities is a great enjoyment. This activity does require planning a little. Always good to have a spouse or friend go along in case the elder needs to return before the program is finished.
· Have a picnic. A picnic can occur in a park, backyard or the grounds of nursing home. If the loved one is able, going to a park is always preferred. However, enjoying the grounds of the facility is also very nice. The facility grounds are usually equipped with tables and sidewalks for wheelchairs. Even bring picnic supplies and food to the dining room.
· Visit a specialty store/antique shop. Many elderly have “collections.” An outing to visit a specialty store of their collection items may prompt stories – family/history.
· Check out crops. Take a drive through the country to view the crop progress. The elderly enjoy experiencing the agriculture experience.
· Visit a friend/family. Many elderly residing in long-term care facilities lose touch with family and friends usually because of health issues. Choose locations close to facility to limit exhaustion.
The ideas listed are only a springboard for others. Think often of activities the loved one enjoyed or participated in younger days. Don’t be afraid to ask the elderly what kinds of activities are enjoyed. They don’t hear those questions often living in long-term facilities. However, if a suggestion isn’t offered then be prepared in advance for another plan.
Remember, these outings are designed for pleasure, don’t overdo.
Gail Wilcox, ombudsman supervisor, welcomes questions about senior activities. Give her a call at 800-627-4882, ext. 132. The SWODA region includes the eight counties of Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita.
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