By Maria Burke, RN
Owner, Celtic Angels Home Health Care
The weather is warm, and the world is taking some steps back to normalcy. So, you may be wondering what activities are safe for seniors this summer? The answer will vary based on individual circumstances, such as whether everyone you want to interact with has been fully vaccinated, individual medical risk factors, and the level of COVID-19 in your community.
Remember, you’re not fully vaccinated until two weeks after your last shot, and preliminary research shows that the COVID-19 vaccine is not as effective in people with weakened immune systems. Talk to your doctor about your personal risk and what precautions you should continue to take.
That said, being outdoors is wonderful for seniors, and we definitely encourage you to spend some time in nature! Here are six ways seniors can safely enjoy the great outdoors this summer.
Having a picnic or eating dinner outside is a simple and relaxing way to enjoy the outdoors. And it can be customized to be as safe as you’d like. You could have a picnic lunch with your family or close friends inside or move dinner to the backyard. If everyone is vaccinated, you could also opt to invite friends or family to a barbecue or ice cream social.
Taking a walk is an enjoyable way to be active outdoors. Take a stroll around your backyard or neighborhood. Alternatively, visit a park or arboretum. This is another activity that can be customized to socially distance as much or as little as necessary.
If you or the seniors in your life love to watch birds, this is a perfect activity. It can be as simple as setting up a bird feeder in your backyard and sitting in a shady spot to watch them, or you can take it up a notch and spend time in a local park or nature preserve with a good set of binoculars. How many species can you identify?
Gardening can be done right in your own backyard, and you can choose what you grow. Select flowers that can be planted in small pots that will bloom at different times, so you have a beautiful display all summer long. Or plant some yummy fruits and veggies in pots that you’ll be able to enjoy together at harvest time!
Make it a family day! Organize a cookout with some family members who can help you set up some games in your yard. Bean bag tosses, horseshoes, and croquet are all superb possibilities.
Who doesn’t love cooling off in the water during the summer? Swimming and other water-based activities have a lot of benefits for seniors, so, if you live in an area that has a community indoor or outdoor pool or you have a family member who has a backyard pool that is easy to safely enter and exit, spend some time in the water. Make sure your community pool has a designated time for seniors with staff that have been fully vaccinated. Wading at the edge of a local beach that isn’t too crowded is another good option.
After enduring lockdowns and other COVID-19 restrictions for more than a year, we’re all looking forward to getting back to normal. The above activities are terrific places to start. And remember, COVID-19 isn’t the only risk to seniors this summer. Seniors are vulnerable to temperature extremes, so enjoy sunny days outdoors in the morning or evening and use sunscreen. And if you spend time in the water, check often to make sure you or your loved one isn’t getting too cold from frigid water temperatures.
Need more suggestions or assistance in helping your senior loved one enjoy the great outdoors or additional COVID prevention protocols? Contact us at www.celticangelsinc.com.