As temperatures rise and the days get longer, it’s a perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors. While spending time outside is rewarding for everyone, seniors can especially benefit from the physical and mental perks of staying active. Keep reading to learn about cost-effective activities for older adults to try this spring.
The Impact of Fulfilling Activities on Senior Mental Health
Before jumping into specific springtime activities, you should understand why engaging activities are important. Maintaining an active lifestyle, fostering community connections, spending time outdoors, and other leisurely activities are directly linked to older adults’ cognitive function, physical function, and mental health.
Considering hereditary and environmental factors, leisure activities are one of the best ways to combat diseases and disorders that naturally come with aging, like dementia, feelings of isolation, and decreased mobility. Typically, if elderly individuals feel better about their life, they’re more likely to age successfully.
10 Ways Seniors and Their Caregivers Can Stay Active
There’s likely no better season to start gardening than spring. Putting time and care into a beautiful garden is a low-cost, low-impact activity that reduces stress and anxiety.
Many people can start propagating already existing plants or even get free perennial cuttings or nodules on sites like Facebook Marketplace or Nextdoor. This also opens up opportunities for increased social interaction with other gardeners in the area.
2. Take a Class
Pursuing further education in any form can be a fulfilling experience. Whether it’s brushing up on old skills, discovering a new hobby, learning a new language, or broadening your perspective, there are hundreds of classes older adults can choose from, like:
Art Classes – Seniors can enhance their creativity and improve their motor skills with arts and crafts classes involving sketching, painting, sculpting, and more.
Cooking Classes – Even for the most adept culinary experts, cooking and baking classes are a fun outlet that can introduce people to a broader range of cuisines and recipes.
Technology Courses – Technology is forever evolving, and navigating it can be discouraging without help. Thankfully, plenty of free and discounted courses with senior citizens in mind teach basic computer skills like typing, standard software programs, and navigating social media.
Fitness-Based Courses – Exercise classes are undoubtedly one of the best ways for seniors to maintain their physical health and strengthen their muscles. These can be through more moderate courses like yoga or water aerobics that are easier on the joints or even more intensive courses like Zumba or strength training. As a win-win, these classes are also great for an increased sense of community.
College Courses – Many older adults experience fulfillment by auditing college courses. Students who take this option enroll in and pay for classes but don’t receive a grade. This is a great way to learn about specific disciplines like psychology, business, marketing, philosophy, and more.
Birdwatching is an incredibly peaceful activity that can be done from the comfort of a deck, patio, or living room. Data from a 2017 study shows that people living in neighborhoods with more birds, trees, and shrubbery were less likely to suffer from mental disorders like anxiety and depression. If you don’t live in an area with lots of exotic birds, consider buying a cheap bird feeder and a few pounds of birdseed to entice the beautiful creatures to visit your home.
Working toward a collective cause is a fantastic way to foster community and feel useful. Contrary to popular belief, giving back doesn’t have to be labor-intensive, either. Many initiatives are as simple as contributing to a community garden or nature center. Caregivers can help senior citizens find many volunteer opportunities by simply Googling their city name and the phrase “volunteer opportunities near me.”
5. Take a Nature Walk
To avoid feeling cramped in the house, consider taking a nature walk. Exploring beautiful trails, enjoying the fresh air, and connecting with nature are great ways to see spring in its full glory. Seniors can get adequate physical exercise and improve their mental health by taking a brisk walk, jogging, or biking.
Plus, if mobility is a concern, there are plenty of wheelchair-accessible trails across the U.S. This guarantees these trails will be paved with ample space, reducing the chance of falls or an uncomfortable trip.
Unfortunately, many Veteran seniors needing assisted home health care services are unaware of the full scope of benefits they’re entitled to. Learn more about the home health care services you can access to live leisurely.
While not entirely outdoors, there are plenty of senior recreational centers older adults can join. Many of these centers offer arts and activities, programs, and classes, plus day trips and community events. Some senior living communities even partner with senior centers, so people who rely on assisted living can still partake in these events.
7. Join a Book Club
Joining a book club can help seniors stay mentally sharp while also providing an opportunity to socialize and make new friends. By immersing themselves in a new literary world and making a routine out of reading and meeting up with their club, seniors can better maintain a sense of structure in a fun and engaging way.
Taking regular picnics is a great way to turn a rather mundane activity into a fulfilling outdoor experience. Senior citizens can invite friends and family to a beautiful picnic date at the lake or park and enjoy the comfort of delicious food while surrounded by the people they love most.
9. Enjoy Outdoor Theaters and Shows
Everyone loves a show! Many outdoor municipal theaters and festivals start holding musicals, opera performances, and concerts around this time of year. Not only is it a perfect balance between being too hot or too cold, but many outdoor performances often have free or discounted seating where spectators can simply pull up a lawn chair, bring snacks and binoculars, and relax.
10. Cloud-Watch and Stargaze
Another great way to connect with nature is by gazing at the sky. Cloud-watching can be a deeply meditative and tranquil experience even on an overcast day. Additionally, if astrology or astronomy is a special interest, seniors can make a hobby out of stargazing and observing rare events like meteor showers and lunar eclipses.
Access Quality Health Care Resources With AVCC
If you or a loved one are a senior Veteran being held back by a lack of access to health resources, reach out to American Veterans Care Connection. We understand the difficulties of finding a strong support system for Veterans, their surviving spouses, and family members. With our connections to an extensive network of experienced care providers nationwide, you or your loved one can receive quality support when needed.