The spring and summer seasons herald the kickoff of pleasurable and entertaining events with family and friends. Who doesn’t look forward to drives to the coast, outdoor family reunions and weekends in the wine country?
If you’re a family caregiver, this season of increased activity isn’t always good news. Many older adults may no longer have the health, mobility and stamina to join in the fun. And that could create a dilemma for families who want to ensure that everyone is part of the action. What’s worse, if Mom can’t participate and ends up home alone, you could feel guilty.
A little pre-planning can help make it easier for an older adult to take part in the festivities. If dad can’t attend a full day of the picnic, schedule meals that might fit into his regular routine and during a time of day when the weather is not too hot or cold. Be sure he brings a hat, sunscreen and plenty of water.
If your loved one isn’t up to these more robust activities, though, check this out.
Top 10 list of fun things to do with a senior:
A day of painting or coloring. With the popularity of adult coloring books, both seniors and their grandchildren can now enjoy this pleasing pastime. If your family is particularly artistic, they might even want to try the canvas paint parties that are so popular these days.
Lunch outdoors. If the weather is nice, lunch on the patio or deck may be a great alternative if an older adult no longer has the endurance to leave the family home. Pack up a picnic basket with all her favorite foods, put out a checkered tablecloth and you’re set!
Go to the park. A trip to the park, even if you must drive there, is a good way to help seniors relive their memories of taking their own children to the playground on warm, sunny days. Sit on the park bench and help them reminisce.
Garden anywhere. Gardening is a favorite hobby for many seniors. If Mom can no longer maintain a garden, planting flowers, herbs and vegetables in pots is a great alternative. Check out ideas online and on Pinterest, or go to your favorite garden center. Many have gardening classes and activities. Home Instead hosts the RP garden club in our office monthly-call to inquire.
Start a book club. If Dad still enjoys reading, why not enlist a few of his friends or family members to read a book they would all enjoy? Gather the group for coffee and tea and share thoughts about the book.
Check out the town’s events. Why not help your loved one be a tourist in his or her own town? Search for area activities on Facebook or through the local media. Popular summer activities in many communities include concerts and plays, ice cream socials and parades.
Plan a tea party. If Mom has been ill or isolated for a time, a small tea party could be just what she needs to boost her spirits. One family caregiver noted that her mother’s family members recently got together for tea celebrating what would have been her grandmother’s 100th birthday. The various generations all enjoyed hearing what it was like growing up 70 to 80 years ago.
Share a hobby. With school out of session and the kids itching for something to do, why not ask grandpa or grandma to teach your children his or her favorite? Whether it’s knitting, woodworking, playing guitar or working crossword puzzles, children will enjoy learning a new skill while getting better acquainted with a grandparent.
Take a drive to the coast! Sonoma County is so lovely this time of year and why not cool off by taking a drive to see the beautiful ocean.
Pick fruit. Picking juicy cherries or other fruit in season may have been a past summertime task for the senior in your life. Check out fruit farms in your area and load up the entire family for a weekend afternoon outing. Even if Mom can’t pick fruit, she’s sure to enjoy watching (and tasting)!
Julie Ann Soukoulis is the owner of Home Instead Senior care office in Rohnert Park, mother of two and passionate about healthy living at all ages. Having cared for her own two parents, she understands your struggles and aims, through her website, www.homeinstead.com/sonoma to educate and encourage seniors & caregivers. Have a caregiving or aging concern? She’d love to hear from you at 586-1516 anytime.