Summer Activities for Seniors and Caregivers

Summer Activities for Seniors and Caregivers

Enjoying the warm summer can still be a reality for elders and caregivers. Finding interesting activities suitable for a senior’s abilities may take some creativity, but it is well worth switching up the routine to get out and about.

The Benefits of Getting Outside
A main advantage of heading outdoors, even for a short period of time, is being able to soak up some sunlight. Sun exposure generates vitamin D, which is necessary for a healthy brain, bones and muscles. Getting out also enables elders to socialize and be stimulated by new experiences and environments.

Ideas for Outdoor Activities
When selecting activities to do with your loved one, focus on hobbies and interests that they used to enjoy. What is something they always wanted to try? Don’t be afraid to ask what they miss doing or what they’d like to revisit. Have a couple of suggestions prepared to choose from and enjoy the day.

Catch a sporting event. Attending a grandchild’s soccer game or a professional baseball game can be an action-packed way for your loved one to reconnect with a favorite pastime.

Fish for fun. You can cast a rod from a dock, pier, or other location, even if someone has mobility challenges or uses a wheelchair. Check your state’s tourism websites to see if they provide listings of accessible fishing locations.

Be a tourist. If you live in a city, take an open-air bus or trolley tour to see the local sights. Another option could be a boat tour, depending on what type of equipment an elder needs to take with them. A Sunday drive around town can also allow a senior to check out happenings in the community that interest them. This could be a farmers market, rummage sale, community event or even just blooming flowers.

Take a dip. If a senior is willing and able, spending time in a pool is an excellent way to incorporate physical activity that still seems relaxing.

Stroll around. If a walk is possible, start slow and work up to longer outings. Either keep the first few walks short, or bring along a walker or wheelchair in case your loved one gets tired and needs to rest.
Be an animal lover. This could be as simple as sitting outside and enjoying the sights and sounds, or could mean an outing to the zoo or dog park.

Picnic outdoors. Picnics are a flexible activity that you can plan at a park or in the backyard. Seniors can watch children run around and enjoy the buzz of others. Locate a comfortable area with plenty of shade in advance, or bring your own.

Go out for a treat. Make an outing out of it “just because.” This could consist of a coffee and pastry from a favorite breakfast spot, or a lunch special from the local diner. If the weather is nice, enjoy your goodies at a patio table.

Older bodies don’t adjust to changes in temperature or perceive thirst as well. With each activity, be sure to watch your loved one for signs of fatigue, thirst, sunburn, and overheating. You can promise to return at another time.

—By Caren Parnes
Contributor for The Senior’s Choice

Helping Seniors Fight Crime and Stay Safe

Helping Seniors Fight Crime and Stay Safe

Older people are often targets for robbery, purse-snatching, car theft, or a number of scams. During a crime, an older person is more likely to be seriously hurt. But, even though there are risks, don’t let the fear of crime stop you from enjoying life. Be careful and be aware of your surroundings. Here are some “do’s and don’ts” that can help you fight crime and stay safe.

Being Safe at Home

  • Do make sure that your locks, doors, and windows are strong and cannot be broken easily. Make sure they are locked—both when you are in the house and when you’re away.
  • Do make a list of your expensive belongings. You might even take pictures of the most valuable items. Store these papers in a safe place.
  • Don’t open your door before you know who’s there. Look through the peephole or a window first.
  • Don’t keep large amounts of money in the house.
  • Do get to know neighbors. Consider a Neighborhood Watch Program.

Being Street Smart

  • Do try to stay alert. Walk with a friend. Stay away from unsafe places like dark parking lots or alleys.
  • Do keep your car doors locked at all times and park in well-lit areas.
  • Don’t open your car door or roll down your window for strangers.
  • Do carry your purse close to your body and across your chest.
  • Don’t resist a robber. Hand over your cash right away if confronted.

Being Safe with Your Money

  • Do have your monthly pension or Social Security direct-deposited.
  • Don’t carry a lot of cash. Put your wallet and cash in an inside pocket.
  • Don’t keep your check book and credit cards together. A thief could use the card to forge your signature.

Fighting Fraud

Older people may be victims of frauds like con-games in areas such as home repair, insurance, telephone, or internet scams. Here are some tips:

  • Don’t be afraid to hang up on telemarketers. You can decline an offer.
  • Don’t give any personal information over the phone unless you were the one who made the call.
  • Don’t be fooled by deals that seem too good to be true. They probably are. Beware of deals that ask for a lot of money up front and promise you more money later. Check with your local Better Business Bureau to get more information before doing business with them.

Avoiding Identity Theft

How can someone steal an identity? Use your name, Social Security, or credit card without your okay is called identity theft, and it’s a serious crime. Tips to protect yourself:

  • Do keep information about your checking account private. Put all new and cancelled checks in a safe place, report any stolen checks right away, and carefully look at your monthly bank account statement.
  • Do shred everything that has personal information written on it.
  • Do be very careful when buying things online. Websites without security may not protect your credit card or bank account information. Look for information saying that a website has a secure server before buying anything online. (It will have https://, not http:// in front of it).
  • Do check with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to learn to protect yourself from common online scams that can trick you into revealing your personal or financial information.

By National Institute on Aging, National Institute of Health