The summer season often brings lots of sunshine, but it can also bring dangerously high temperatures and extreme weather. Older adults are more prone to heat stress, so they should be exceedingly careful with activities in the heat.This summer, find activities that keep aging adults cool, yet also on-the-move and engaged. Try these nine safe summer activities for seniors during the warmer months.
1.Cook a Fresh Meal
Fresh produce tends to be more cost efficient and readily available during the summer. Cooking with fresh fruits and vegetables can provide valuable nutrition to seniors. Additionally, cooking can be therapeutic activity because it allows for a sense of purpose and a creative outlet, according to Psychology Today.
2. Reminisce on the Past
Summertime is an excellent time for seniors to review previous summer memories. From days at an amusement park to trips across the country, seniors usually acquire quite a list of memories. Aging adults often enjoy sharing and retelling stories from their past. Additionally, reminiscing can have benefits for seniors, including better communication and reduced stress.
At Vineyard, we collect postcards of people and places from all over the world to share with our residents. The postcards help adults living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia by prompting special memories.
3. Work on a Craft
Art therapy provides creative stimulation for aging adults and those living with dementia, according to Dr. Barbara Bagan. Working on a craft can help individuals express their emotions and develop fine motor skills. By producing a product, seniors can also increase their confidence, concentration and motivation. Working with clay in particular also offers significant benefits for aging adults, based on recent research.
4. Stay Active and Cool
Swimming and water aerobics help you beat the heat while also staying fit. Water-based summer activities for seniors are usually low-impact and great for individuals with arthritis or stiff joints. Other low-impact exercises include yoga, chair tai chi and balloon volleyball.
5. Play Games
Board games and card games are fun, competitive ways to help older adults stay engaged as well as socialize. An extensive scientific study shows that games and other leisure activities can reduce the risk of dementia. If the weather allows, consider playing outside games such as cornhole.
For those who desire some quiet time, putting together a puzzle indoors can be an alternative. According to another study, puzzling is helpful for seniors’ aging minds and provides a sense of purpose through their accomplishment.
6. Watch Movies
Movies provide an emotional escape and can help take the focus off current ailments. Film therapy also offers a way to relax for those diagnosed with dementia. Allow older adults to choose the movie, but be sure to have several genres of available.
We hold weekly classic film showings at Vineyard based on resident’s preferences.
7. Read a Book
Reading is a fantastic activity for seniors during any season, but especially during the summer. Aging adults can read while outside in the shade or in inside in the AC. A book club is a fantastic way to encourage both more reading and socialization. Reading might be difficult depending on eyesight or other factors. If so, consider alternatives like audio books or large print versions.
8. Get Outside (Safely)
While the heat may limit some outdoor activities, it’s still important to get outside. Sunlight is a great source of vitamin D, which can help fight osteoporosis, anxiety and depression. Vitamin D also boosts the immune system and improves brain health. Getting outside for even a brief period, should be a priority for all aging adults–especially those fighting memory diseases.
A few opportunities to safely get outdoors can include:
- Take advantage of cooler times of the day by watching the sunrise, or catching a beautiful sunset in the evening.
- Find a spot in the shade for bird watching. Bird watching can be entertaining and engaging as watchers attempt to identify different birds.
- Consider taking a morning or evening walk. Be sure to bring along a bottle of water to avoid dehydration. At Vineyard, we have a program called Night Striders that promotes peaceful evening strolls.
9. Enjoy a Cold Treat
Summer wouldn’t be complete without ice cream! An ice cream social is a great way to engage with others while cooling off with a sweet treat. Further, ice cream might actually have a few health benefits.
Need another excuse? National Ice Cream Day is July 21st! Just be sure to consider any dietary restrictions before indulging.
Fun and Safe Summer Activities for Seniors
You may feel limited by the high temperatures and extreme weather when planning activities for aging adults. However, there are many safe options available to have fun and stay engaged this summer.
If you or your older loved ones plan to be outside at any time, be sure to use sun protection. Sunscreen, sunglasses and protective clothing will help protect eyes and skin. Additionally, our bodies lose fluids more quickly as the temperature rises. Be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Overall, stay safe and cool this summer, but don’t forget to have fun!
Vineyard offers a wide range of safe recreational programs to ensure that residents engage in purpose-filled activities each day, no matter the weather. Our extensive activity calendar fosters new skills and old hobbies that lead to higher levels of personal growth, health and wellness.