For seniors, spring is an especially exciting time. The winter weather can make it hard for older people to continue doing outdoor activities, and it can make it hard for seniors living on their own to visit friends and family. This makes winter an especially isolating time for seniors, but with the arrival of spring, the opportunity to pick up a new hobby or reconnect with friends suddenly becomes an easy option again. Not only is this just plain fun, but having a hobby and keeping socially connected has a myriad of health benefits for seniors.
With that in mind, here are 3 exciting activities for seniors that will shake off those winter blues:
Gardening is a great spring activity for any senior to pick up. With the changing season comes more variety at the local nurseries, meaning more plants that can accommodate any skill level. Whether they’re completely new to gardening or have years of experience, seniors will likely find a plant they’ll enjoy caring for.
Not only does gardening give seniors the joy of caring for another living thing, but it’s also a great excuse for seniors to get in some exercise. If they’re planting a full-blown outdoor garden, the bending, crouching, and standing involved can help to maintain their flexibility.
If they would rather start small, encourage them to look into potted plants. Potted plants can be kept indoors, or, if they live in a seniors residence, be kept out on a private balcony. This allows seniors to personalize and decorate their living space. They could also try growing herbs and vegetables like bell peppers with mason jar gardening.
On top of that, having to remember how to care for their new plants is an excellent way to keep themselves mentally stimulated, which can help to ward off various mental health issues.
2. Outdoor Games
Playing outdoor games is another way to get in some exercise, but it also allows them to reconnect with friends and family they might have lost touch with over the winter. Here are a couple of games that seniors can enjoy outdoors with their friends and family:
- Bocce ball
- Lawn bowling
These games require more than one person, so they’re a great way to bring seniors together with their family and friends. The equipment used in these games is also relatively lightweight, making them good for anyone who may have issues lifting heavy objects.
Bocce ball is the perfect example of a fun, outdoor game you can play with just a set of balls and a measuring tool that comes with the set. The rules of bocce ball are simple, and it’s an excellent activity for light exercise. It helps seniors improve their flexibility and get in some light cardio. It also requires concentration and focus, which can help seniors work on their mindfulness.
3. Walking in Nature
With spring melting away the snow and ice, nature trails once again become accessible. For seniors living at a retirement residence in Ottawa, there are many great sites nearby.
Ottawa has a wealth of green spaces and nature trails that are easily accessible by car. Outside the city, nature trails like Stony Swamp Trail and Pinhey Forest, are suitable for all skill levels. Closer to the city, Hog’s Back Falls, Poet’s Pathway, and of course the greenspace around Parliament Hill, make for great areas to enjoy a walk any time of day.
A walk in nature has many different benefits for seniors. Physically, nature walks can help a senior stay in shape, especially when it comes to their cardiovascular health. To further encourage seniors to head out for a walk, try getting them a Fitbit or even a simple pedometer that will count their steps; this can give them a tangible goal to work towards.
Mentally, a peaceful nature walk can help seniors practice mindfulness, or the ability to stay in the moment. By being in nature, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, seniors can more easily practice mindfulness to reduce mental fatigue.
Not only does this help reduce stress, but it can help seniors deal with feelings of anxiety, have better focus, and have better quality sleep.
Planning Time with Senior Parents this Spring
As a busy mom with your own family, you know how hard it is to find time to do just about anything. But spring is the ideal season for getting outdoors with the whole family, including senior parents. Unlike the dog days of summer, you don’t have to worry as much about extreme heat and how that can affect older family members.
While the kids have plenty of space to run around and get their energy out, you can take a nice relaxing stroll with mom or dad, enjoy a nature walk through one of Ottawa’s top trails, or help out with the gardening. Enjoy quality family time in the great outdoors this spring.
Great ideas for senior actives, when we lived in Nepean I loved when we went to Hog’s Back Falls. It made for a wonderful day.