Maximize Your Patio Season: A Senior’s Guide to Outdoor Activities

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It’s patio season at All Seniors Care. Sunshine! Fresh summer salads! Outdoor games!

It’s no secret that Canadians love to spend as much time outside as possible during the summer months.  They gather on patios with friends, sip on a cold beverage, dine al fresco, or simply people watch. Getting outside is a wonderful way to relax and enjoy the natural beauty that’s all around us.

ASC retirement communities have been specifically designed to promote this outdoor engagement. The inviting patios, well-manicured walking paths, and balconies are perfect spots to either engage in fun-filled activities or to simply enjoy a breath of fresh air. Importantly, these spaces offer more than just beauty; they provide significant health benefits for seniors.

Discover the Health Benefits of Outdoor Activities

Immersing oneself in a verdant space or listening to the calming sound of cascading water can do wonders for vitality.

What’s more, research conducted by the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility in Vancouver has brought to light the therapeutic relationship between seniors and outdoor landscapes, highlighting that exposure to nature can significantly enhance physical, mental, and social health. Here’s how:

Boosts Vitamin D Levels: When skin is exposed to sunlight, it synthesizes vitamin D, essential for bone health, immune function, and has also been linked to overall mental well-being and happiness.

Improves Mental Health: Engaging with nature has been shown to improve concentration, memory, and creative thought, and can also help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Promotes Physical Activity: Outdoor activities, whether it’s walking, gardening, or bird watching, encourage movement and exercise, which is essential for maintaining physical health and mobility.

Improves Sleep: Exposure to natural light during the day helps regulate the body’s internal “biological clock”, which can lead to improved sleep patterns and quality.

Encourages Social Interaction: Outdoor group activities or events provide opportunities for socializing, which can reduce feelings of loneliness and promote a sense of community.

Stimulates the Senses: The outdoors offers a range of sensory stimulation – from the sound of birds singing and the smell of fresh flowers to the feeling of the sun on the skin. This can be especially beneficial for those experiencing cognitive decline or dementia.

Green spaces and nature provoke feelings of renewal, restoration, and spiritual connectedness. They also provided a space for multi-generational social interaction and engagement, including planned activities with friends and families, and impromptu social engagements with neighbors.

8 Great Outdoor Activities for Older Adults

The patios at senior housing communities often act as an extension of the living or social areas, offering countless ways to enjoy the summer months. Here’s how you can make the most of your outdoor time, keeping safety at the forefront: stay hydrated, schedule activities during cooler parts of the day, protect your eyes and skin during peak UV hours, wear breathable clothing, be mindful of heat exhaustion symptoms, and guard against insect bites.

1. Enjoy Outdoor Games for Adults

Draw inspiration from the Preston Park senior living saskatoon – consider engaging in a variety of outdoor games such as putting practice, ladder ball, bocce, horseshoes, cornhole, and shuffleboard. The Health and Wellness Director at Preston Park II, Emma Grodecki, champions the benefits of outdoor activities to enhance overall well-being.

2. Experience the Therapeutic Effects of Gardening

A popular outdoor activity for older adults, gardening is a great way to stay active, maintain strength, and flexibility. For those who find bending over or kneeling a challenge, container gardening is a fantastic alternative!

Enjoy the process of planting and caring for a variety of plants and savor the joy of seeing them flourish throughout the summer. Plant some tomatoes, or other fruit or veggie; or buy a variety of flowers, vines, and greenery of various heights to plant in large pots. This can be a creative activity that will provide enjoyment throughout the summer. Once the planting – and upkeep – is done, sit back and admire the fruits of your labour!

3. Take Up Birdwatching

Regardless of your patio’s size, it is likely humming with life and birdsong. A great way to get outside, it is also a hot new hobby for seniors, according to The Globe and Mail. And why not? Birds are beautiful and fascinating creatures to observe.

Whether you simply notice the birds on a walk through your garden or travel a little further away from home to spot some rarer birds, birdwatching is a great activity for older adults. It’s a low-impact activity that gets you outdoors, helps you connect with nature, and can be done solo or with friends. Even for seniors with limited mobility, this activity can be enjoyed from a porch, balcony, or window.

4. Create Memories Around a Campfire

The charm of a campfire, with its warm glow and inviting ambiance, can be a delightful experience for seniors. Evoking nostalgic memories of summer camp or quiet cottage evenings, these fireside gatherings are a hit among residents at All Seniors Care Living Centres.

At College Park assisted living communities in Regina, sing-alongs around the fire are a soothing way to spend a summer evening. Additionally, campfire events serve as a fun and social warm-up for the summer’s Strawberry Social and ASC Ultimate Backyard Summer Camp.

5. Get Cool with An Ice Cream Social

Whether you love strawberry, vanilla, or chocolate, an Ice Cream Social is a great way to make the most of the patio while getting some Vitamin D. A classic outdoor activity enjoyed at many independent and assisted living communities, the fresh air, camaraderie, an conversation over the shared love for ice cream benefit both seniors and caregivers.

6. Go For a Walk in Nature

A great way to stay active and enjoy the weather, walking brings a little cardio into your lifestyle. It’s also a great way to get some fresh air, see the sights, and take the time to smell the roses. This is why many ASC communities are situated close to green space and offer walking groups and a variety of outdoor programs for residents.

Walking is an accessible and effective form of exercise that gets your blood flowing, strengthens your legs and arms, and even stretches your lower limbs. While distance and step goals differ from person to person, doctors recommend that seniors aged 65 and older aim for 2.5 hours of walking every week.

7. Take Up Photography

With todays’ technology, being a shutterbug is easier than ever. An affordable and accessible activity, photography can be enjoyed in the moment, as well as later on. Sharing your photographs with others can provide meaning and feelings of connection.

If you aren’t a Tech Savvy senior, join an educational workshop at your residence, or ask a staff member for help.  You’ll be snapping away in no time. So, grab your smartphone or camera and go capture some memories!

8. Attend An Outdoor Concert

Attend an outdoor concert with your loved ones, share some delicious snacks, and soak in the harmonious blend of music, scenery, and friendship. Musical events are always a hit, and local artists regularly perform at ASC residences. 

All Seniors Care Living Centres offer a wide range of activities to help you keep moving well into your retirement years. For those who need a bit of extra support,  the BLOSSOM Living curriculum includes supported leisure time activities like walking groups, gardening clubs, and outdoor social programs.

There are plenty of other ways that we are redefining senior living and making retirement more enjoyable. If you are unsure of how to best help an aging loved one, the trained and compassionate staff at All Seniors Care are here to help. If you’re interested in joining one of our homes or suggesting that someone you know join us, contact us today to learn more about how provide opportunities for aging adults to embrace the great outdoors.

 

Writer  – Julianna McLeod

Julianna is a health and wellness expert at All Seniors Care. Her mission is to create content that empowers seniors to form sustainable solutions for lasting health and happiness. She is an experienced writer, editor, and Recreational Therapist living in Toronto.

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