Enjoying springtime outdoors for the elderly

Although Midwestern weather is notoriously unpredictable, we can say with confidence that we have seen the last snowfall before next winter. The warm temperatures are inspiring everyone to get outside and enjoy the sunshine, and the same goes for the elderly.

Going outside, even for a short period of time, allows a person to soak up some sunshine, generating vitamin D, which is good for the brain, bones, and muscle function. Some doctors have even start prescribing sunlight as a source of vitamin D to improve cognitive function, among the elderly and younger generations.

Being outside also encourages socialization, something that is often missing from the lives of elderly people. One of the major benefits of living in a nursing home is that it is an environment that has built in socialization opportunities. Elderly people typically lack a strong social network because many friends may be ill or have passed away. It is considered a very isolated stage of life, but it does not have to be.

Having fun outdoors is not out of reach for the elderly, even those who live in nursing homes and are not able to be very active. There are benefits to be had just sitting and talking to other residents and caregivers, and looking at animals.

There are many outdoor things you can do as a family, as well. Each person is different and so are his or her abilities to be outside and be active. Ultimately, you and doctors know the limitations best. Given the green light, there are many low-impact outdoor activities elderly people can enjoy.

Watch a game
Family time is as crucial as time in the sun, and you can get two-in-one. A perfect afternoon outside could include sitting in the shade and watching a grandchild’s soccer or baseball game. If being in an arena is not too arduous, go to a professional sports game and feel like a kid again.

Take a walk
Walking is a wonderful low-impact activity that has a large impact on health. A slow, pleasant stroll is the best way to reduce stress and get blood flowing. Physical activity does not have to be intensive; a nice walk can be incredibly beneficial.

Plays in the park
The classics are timeless, and people across generations can enjoy these works together. Many cities have Shakespeare in the Park events, or other plays in outdoor spaces. Grab some folding chairs and find a shady spot to take in some culture in the sunshine.