Enjoying the warm summer temperatures doesn’t have to be a distant memory for elders and caregivers. Finding an interesting activity that is suitable for a senior’s abilities may take some creativity and planning, but it is well worth switching up the routine and getting out of the house.
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 with new people 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 head outside to enjoy the day together.
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 problems or uses a wheelchair. Check your state’s or province’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 neighborhood rummage sale, farmers market, community event or even just blooming flowers and trees.
Take a dip. If a senior is willing and able, spending some time in a pool is an excellent way for them to incorporate some physical activity into their routine that seems more like relaxing than a workout.
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 along the way or requires help getting back.
Be an animal lover. This could be as simple as encouraging a loved one to sit outside and enjoy the sights and sounds or could mean an outing to the zoo or local dog park. There are plenty of options for seniors who enjoy animals to get outside and either interact with or observe nature.
Picnic outdoors. Picnics are another flexible activity that you can plan at a park, in your own backyard, or on the surrounding grounds of a long-term care facility. At the park, seniors can watch children run around and enjoy the buzz of outdoor activity. Make sure to locate an area with comfortable seating and plenty of shade in advance or remember to bring your own.
Go out for a treat. Most seniors have a favorite place to eat that picks their spirits right up. Instead of limiting this indulgence to special occasions or the post-doctor’s appointment routine, 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 diner around the corner. If the weather is nice, enjoy your goodies at a patio table.
Older bodies don’t adjust to temperature changes or perceive thirst as well as younger ones. With each of these activities, be sure to watch your loved one for signs of fatigue, thirst, sunburn, and overheating that could signal it’s time to leave, perhaps with a promise to return at another time.
If you’re looking to generate extra income during retirement, you might want to explore ways to make your hobby into a more profitable venture. After all, hobbies are the activities that, in most cases, you’d happily do for free. And pursuing a hobby-related business can make for a relatively smooth second-act transition since you likely have many of the skills, expertise and personal connections needed for success.
Thanks in large part to advances in technology, the possibilities for monetizing your hobby—both locally and online — have never been better. So, if you’re eager to turn your hobbies into retirement cash, here are six winning strategies to consider.
1. Teach Your Hobby
Whether you’re a skilled photographer, an experienced chef or a talented musician, there’s a good chance that others will pay you to teach them what you do so well. There are lots of ways to share your expertise. For example, you can set up shop in your home — just like your neighborhood piano teacher — or teach at a local adult education program or school. Alternatively, you could aim to reach a broader audience and create your own online courses and deliver them using an online instructional platform like Udemy.com or Pathwright.com.
2. Sell Your Products Online
Thanks to the proliferation of online marketplaces, the options for selling your products online have improved dramatically. Etsy is probably the best-known marketplace for artisans and crafters, but there are plenty of other smaller sites you might want to consider like ArtFire.com, Zibbet.com and HandmadeArtists.com.
3. Write About Your Hobby
Hobbyists enjoy reading books, magazines and how-to articles about their passions. So, if you love to write, there might be a way to profit from writing about your hobby. You can search for freelance writing assignments on sites like MediaBistro.com, FlexJobs.com or VirtualVocations.com.
Another option is to start your own hobby-related blog. While it will take time to build up a significant fan base, once you do, you can monetize your site through advertising, sponsorships or by selling your own digital information products—like e-books, downloadable tool kits, worksheets and more.
4. Create New Products Related to Your Hobby
Every hobby comes with its own set of specialized clothing, accessories, gear or gadgets. Hobbyists tend to be willing to buy products related to their hobby, so if you can craft, invent, or import an accessory for your hobby, you might be able to build a profitable income stream to supplement your retirement.
5. Find a Part-Time Job Related to Your Hobby
From the baseball enthusiast who gets paid to write about spring training for his local paper to the theater lover who works as an usher at the local arts center, finding a hobby-related job is a wonderful way to blend work and fun. Think about the places you’d happily spend time at for free—a ballpark, bookstore or gardening center—and see if they have any part-time job openings.
You might also find seasonal work at places like resorts, parks or tourist attractions.
An excellent resource for sourcing and learning about seasonal jobs is CoolWorks.com.
Have a picnic
Whether you eat indoors at home or outdoors at a park, having a picnic meal is a lovely activity. Active older adults can help with the preparation too. Part of the fun can be planning the meal together. Think about traditional picnic foods like sandwiches or wraps, coleslaw, macaroni or potato salad, cookies and lemonade. What is your loved one craving? What were their favorites as a child? You could even invite family and friends and turn it into a festive potluck or barbecue. Reminisce about summer in the younger years and favorite memories and activities.
Visit a farmer’s market
Ah, fresh produce and flowers! Leisurely strolling (or being wheeled) around a farmer’s market is a perfect activity for seniors. There’s so much to see and sample. Plus, they can take home fresh veggies for a healthy meal and beautiful flowers for the table. Beauty, wonderful smells plus healthy food options are a bonus.
Take a nature walk
Take a walk through the neighborhood, go to the park, or visit a garden center. For those who are less mobile, sitting in the backyard on the porch or near a window is also nice. What hidden gems do you have in your area?
Bring nature indoors
Summer means plants and flowers. Bring the beautify of nature inside by getting an easy-to-care-for plant, a fragrant potted herb like lavender, or some colorful freshly cut flowers. There are also lovely faux flower options to brighten up a room long-term.
A sure sign of summer are birds chirping outside. Attract even more to your window by putting up a bird feeder. Listen to their cheery songs as you sip your morning coffee and visit with your loved one.
Do some summer cleaning
Chances are, your loved one can stand to get rid of a few things around the house. Warm months are perfect times to get rid of some of the clutter. It’s also a perfect opportunity to go through keepsakes and share special memories. If your loved one has so many areas that need decluttering or organization, just start with one spot… a drawer or a small area. You might find more momentum as you go, bit by bit.