We all enjoy engaging in fun summer activities, and seniors are no exception. Of course, heading outdoors with a parent who may require special food or medicines takes a little planning. Below, we’ve outlined five activities the whole family can enjoy together as well as a few questions to ask yourself when preparing to take your parent out.
Five Summer Activities for Seniors
1. Take a walk. Walking is a wonderful way to engage the senses, whether listening to early morning birdcalls, taking in the sights of a farmer’s market, or savoring the cool air inside the mall. It also provides great exercise for all fitness levels since distance and pace can easily be adjusted—just make sure Grandma or Grandpa has sturdy footwear to stay safe and comfortable.
2. Plan a fishing trip. With peak time in the quiet, early morning hours, fishing offers a peaceful way to enjoy the outdoors. It can also instill a sense of accomplishment for a senior citizen to reel in a catch.
3. Host a picnic. Enjoying a meal al fresco is a pleasure on its own, but packing a kite or bocce set adds another element of fun. If your loved one has a condition that requires they stay close to home, you can always hold the picnic in your own backyard.
4. See a movie with the grandkids. When summer’s heat is at its peak, seek refuge in the air conditioning of your local movie theatre. Select a family-friendly flick that all generations can enjoy. Afterward, go for ice cream or another treat and invite your children and parent to recount their favorite movie moments.
5. Catch a baseball game. From the crack of the bat to the aroma of popcorn, a baseball game brings many nostalgic sounds, smells, and sights. It also provides built-in comforts, such as seating and bathroom access. Don’t feel limited to professional league games: grandparents will relish the opportunity to root on their grandkids during a game of softball.
Five Questions to Ask Before You Go
1. Do I need to pack food? If your parent follows a special diet or has difficulty chewing, make sure appropriate food will be available. If not, prepare and pack your own—cut up fruits make a tasty and healthy snack.
2. Will we have easy access to a bathroom? If you’re planning a day of fishing, keep in mind that long hours on a boat may not be advisable. Plan for breaks, or try fishing from the shoreline. Just be mindful to avoid uneven terrain along the water’s edge to prevent falls.
3. What’s the weather forecast? On a hot sunny day, lightweight, loose-fitting clothing provides most comfort to a senior, who may have a condition that affects his or her body’s internal temperature regulation. You should also make sure to pack a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and plenty of water. Have a plan in case of rain.
4. Do the day’s plans require extended periods of standing? Planning to attend the Independence Day parade? In the heat and crowds, seniors are more susceptible to fatigue. Bring folding chairs and arrive early to stake out a place.
5. Will I need to help my parent take his or her medicine? Know your parent’s medication schedule and pack medicines in a cool, dry place. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you when it’s time to give them.