It’s been another long winter of COVID, and many seniors are ready to welcome the warmer weather of spring. Now’s the time to prepare so your older adult can enjoy the first sunny days of spring.
First, determine what your loved one wants to do. Are they antsy to get dirty in the garden? Or are they ready for the first pitch on opening day? Do they enjoy taking walks outside or would they rather watch the birds through the window?
As you prepare for spring activities, join your loved one in walking through the routine to identify potential challenges. Perhaps a patio step would be better with an outdoor riser or ramp, or could be improved with a sturdier railing. Outdoor areas may need to be cleared of debris from winter, and a light jacket could be relocated near an exterior door.
Accessing the outdoors should be as easy and safe as possible to allow your loved one to reap the health and mental benefits from spending time outdoors. So, as the calendar gets closer to that first day of spring, make sure you’re ready to enjoy it together with your senior.
For the (former) sun worshiper
Older adults should always use sunscreen, even if they only plan to be outside for a short while. Mature skin produces less collagen, becomes drier and more sensitive, and cannot recover as quickly from sun damage. Seniors should wear sunscreen daily to protect from harmful UV rays and prevent conditions like skin cancer.
The American Cancer Society recommends using a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect against UVB rays. Older adults should apply sunscreen generously and cover any exposed areas—and don’t forget to reapply every two hours.
When shady areas are hard to find, this wheelchair umbrella is portable and easy to use. It simply clamps onto the arms of wheelchairs or motorized scooters to provide shade and protection from the rain.
For the birdwatcher
This window bird feeder helps facilitate up-close-and-personal encounters of the aviary kind for seniors who prefer to stay inside or are unable to safely go outdoors. The bird feeder attaches to the window via suction cups and attracts a wide range of small birds.
For the gardener
Kneeling on the ground can be hard on arthritic joints. This kneeling pad flips over to become a garden chair to allow your loved one to tend to longer-stemmed plants and shrubs in comfort. It folds easily and comes with pouches to keep clippers and spades handy.
A raised garden bed makes gardening much easier for seniors who use a wheelchair or who are no longer comfortable bending down. This planter box easily accommodates plants such as annual flowers, lettuces and greens, herbs, vegetables and more. As an added bonus, hungry bunnies are less likely to nibble the plants in this bed.
For the senior who enjoys the sunset
A well-lit yard and outdoor space make the outdoors accessible well into the evening. However, lighting a patio or yard for a senior requires more than solar-powered path lights. Light should help prevent older adults from tripping and falling and can help improve the overall feeling of security around the home. Consider areas such as doorways, driveways, walkways, steps, railings, patios and decks. Motion sensor lights can improve safety and require no forethought as your senior navigates the outdoor area.
This small, water-resistant speaker can take sound outside. It connects via Bluetooth and features voice prompts so pairing with a Bluetooth device is simple. High-quality sound allows your loved one to listen to music or take calls outdoors.
Improving the outdoors
Keep in mind that any outdoor activity may help reduce depression and anxiety, improve energy and contribute to overall better health. Helping your senior enjoy the great outdoors is a thoughtful way to improve their quality of life and perhaps even enjoy a shared activity.