Elderly Activities for Outdoors - Fun in the Sun

Elderly Activities for Outdoors

No one likes to stay cooped up indoors all the time, and that goes for elderly individuals as well.

Providing a well-rounded and stimulating environment to the elderly should be one of the tasks of caregivers in a variety of scenarios.

Whether caring for loved ones at home or as part of your job as a professional, elderly activities outdoors are one of the best ways to get elderly parents moving, active, and engaged in the world around them.

Outdoor Basics

It's not always easy to convince your elderly parent to get outdoors and do something. Fear of falling, temperature extremes, and difficulty walking or with mobility are some of the most common reasons that elderly individuals give their caregivers for not wanting to go outside.

However, whenever possible, and with very careful consideration, do your best to encourage your parent to get outside and engage in elderly activities outdoors that not only help to stimulate the brain, but keep muscles strong and emotions engaged. When coming up with elderly activities outdoors, make sure they're elderly friendly and doable. For example, some of the best things to do outdoors with your parent include visiting:

  • Libraries
  • Zoos
  • Parks
  • Museums
  • Senior Centers
  • Natural wilderness drives

Taking your parent outdoors doesn't have to be costly or time-consuming. Packing a picnic lunch and taking your mom to the park is a great way to not only spend quality time together, but to let her enjoy the feel of warm sunshine on her skin, the breeze on her face, and the emotional and mental stimulation of watching children play, people jogging, walking dogs, and otherwise interacting with one another.

elderly activities outdoors

Elderly individuals will also enjoy the benefits of visits to museums and zoos. Call ahead of time and arrange for a wheelchair so that your parent may enjoy the visit without undue physical stress. Make sure he or she is dressed appropriately for the weather and has a hat to protect the face and head from the elements.

When taking an elderly parent outdoors, it's essential that caregivers remember the temperature may be felt differently for an elderly individual as opposed to younger people because the skin thins, and medications may alter and individuals' sensations regarding heat or cold.

Take along an extra sweater and even a lap blanket to be on the safe side and routinely (but not nagging) ask your parent if he or she is comfortable.

Mobility Issues

Many elderly activities, recreation or games are determined by the physical capabilities and stamina of a parent. Some elderly parents are still able to get around quite well, while others are relegated to wheelchairs. Choose activities and games that cater to the capabilities as well as the endurance of a parent. Some elderly seniors may enjoy horseshoes and shuffle board, while others may be perfectly content to sit outdoors in the shade watching backyard animals, feeding birds, or otherwise enjoying the great outdoors. Many elderly people like to just sit and watch others, but do make an effort to continually engage such individuals in conversation and interactions.

elderly activities outdoors woodworking craft by man

Never insist that your elderly parent participate in outdoor activities, but gently encourage such efforts. Whether your parent seems perfectly content sitting in the backyard, make sure to offer various outings on a weekly basis. Sometimes, it might take the caregiver a bit of cajoling to convince elderly person to venture outside of the yard or neighborhood, but the rewards of doing so will pay off.

Take into consideration the medical condition your elderly parent is in. If he or she suffers from bouts of arthritis, it might not be such a good idea to take him or her outdoors during cold, damp or snowy weather. The same goes for warm weather conditions during the summer. Taking a walk around the park, pushing your parent in her wheelchair around the park or having a picnic at noon in the middle of August is not such a good idea, but you can adapt such activities to the weather by enjoying early morning or late afternoon strolls and activities during the coolest parts of the day.

When planning outings, just make sure that the elderly individual will be protected and safe in every environment, whether indoors or out. Ask your elderly parent what he or she used to do when outside and see if you can adapt activities and recreation around those earlier preferences. 

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