It’s a beautiful summer day, and you want to enjoy the gorgeous weather with your elderly parent or grandparent; the big question is, what can you do together safely? Even with social distancing and other COVID-19 rules, there are activities you can enjoy with your elderly loved one. 

 

While the heat and sunshine sometimes send the elderly indoors, there are safe ways to enjoy the summer weather (in small doses!). Be sure to select days that are not too hot or humid and remain in the shade as much as possible. Drink lots of water and ensure your loved one is wearing a hat and loose-fitting clothing. Once all the precautions to stay cool are in place, you can enjoy some summer fun activities outdoors!

 

Here are 7 activities that will appeal to older generations and that will spark reminiscing of summers gone by.

 

Sunset at white sandy beach and seagulls flying by in the sky

 

1. Watch the Sunset at the Beach — regardless of age, watching the sunset shimmering over the water can be relaxing. If your loved one is up for a challenge, go for a walk along the beach and collect seashells, or build a sandcastle. If the beach is too far away, watch the sunset over the Grand River, or the ponds at your local park.

 

2. Play a Game Golf — for avid golfers who can no longer handle the demands of an 18-hole golf course, mini-golf is a great option to enjoy putting, without the twisting action of driving the ball. However, if your loved one can still play a game of golf, call your local golf course to schedule a tee time. 

 

3. Make Lemonade from Scratch — this would have been the only way to have lemonade 70 or 80 years ago! Your elderly loved ones may even remember a favourite family recipe. You can always modify the recipe to accommodate diabetic needs by reducing sugar or replacing sugar with sweeteners.

 

little kid fishing off a dock

 

4. Go Fishing — many grandfathers have taken their children and grandchildren on fishing expeditions. Now, it might be your turn to take your grandfather out fishing. Tip: fishing off a pier or stable dock might be more accessible (i.e.: able to use a walker or wheelchair) than fishing from a boat or riverside.

 

5. Have a Picnic at the Park — a good old-fashioned picnic basket filled with favourite treats will always bring a smile! You can be sure to accommodate special dietary requirements when packing the picnic basket. Be sure to look for a picnic table or bring along a lawn chair (sitting directly on the ground might be difficult; getting up from the ground could be even harder!).

 

6. See a Movie at the Drive-In Theatre — this will feel like a flash from the past! Drive-In theatres still operate and often feature classic movies from varying eras. The drive-in has many benefits for the elderly—they can remain in a comfortable seat in the car, they don’t have to fight any crowds on foot, and the volume can be set to the level that suits their hearing. Of course, it does mean a late night out, but that’s all part of the fun!

 

red and orange flowers in a field

 

7. Pick Wildflowers — who doesn't love a vase full of fresh flowers? It’s even better when you pick the flowers yourself and create the arrangement! Best of all, this fun summer activity doesn’t cost a penny.

 

If your elderly loved one is homebound and tech-savvy, you can connect with them online. Take your video call outside! A weekly video call to share summer stories and photos can be a great way to enjoy this summer. 

 

Hopefully, you now have an idea or two of a fun, lighthearted way to spend time with elderly relatives even during these times.  Comment and share with us your summer fun ideas!  

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As we age our bodies experience physiological changes such as an increase/decrease in body weight, loss of muscle mass, absorption changes and sensory losses of taste & smell.

 

As our bodies change so do our nutritional needs! Eating nutritious meals in later years of life has been shown to have many positive side effects. Some of these include increased energy levels, the ability to recuperate quicker from illnesses, manage chronic health problems and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

 

healthy meal - smoked salmon on toast with arugula

 

The majority of older adults will have nutrition concerns such as dehydration, constipation, malnutrition, swallowing difficulties (known as dysphagia), diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and arthritis. That's why some seniors will be on a special diet such as low sodium, diabetic or pre-diabetic, thickened liquids or minced/pureed foods.

 

There are 5 special nutrient needs to consider for your elderly loved one. 

 

1. Protein

 

Most older adults aren’t eating enough protein in their diet! Protein supports a healthy immune system, it prevents muscle wasting and optimizes bone mass. As we age, we begin to lose muscle mass so we shouldn’t decrease our protein intake. Each meal should include at least 20-30 g of protein. Make sure there is a source of protein at all meals and throughout the day! For example, drink a glass of milk with your lunch or snack on nuts throughout the day. For your elderly loved one, a great snack with lots of protein could be a bottle of Ensure.

 

2. Calcium and Vitamin D

 

In a healthy body, bones are constantly being broken down and rebuilt. About 10% to 30% of the adult skeleton is replenished each year! As we age, our bones break down quicker than they can be built which leads to decreasing bone density. To help build our bones, we need calcium and vitamin D.

 

One way to increase calcium and vitamin D intake is to drink fortified beverages at meals, such as orange juice with vitamin D. Vitamin D supplements are also a great idea to increase intake. Another idea is to add powdered skim milk to beverages (coffee or tea) or to eat pudding/yoghurt for dessert! It can be tricky to increase your vitamin D intake but remember that calcium and vitamin D work together to build our bones.

 

 

3. Vitamin B12

 

This vitamin is needed to make DNA, red blood cells and helps to keep the nerves working properly. It has shown that Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to poor cognition, anemia, fatigue, depression, confusion and tingling in the hands and feet. Vitamin B12 is primarily found in animal products and sometimes is added to other foods (e.g. soy products). That is why it is highly recommended for those on a vegan diet to take Vitamin B12 supplements. 

 

4. Fibre

 

Fibre needs are different between men and women over the age of 50. Men need about 30 g/day and women need about 21 g/day. Did you know that there are two types of fibre, soluble and insoluble? Soluble fibre lowers cholesterol level, controls blood sugar, prevents colon cancer and assists with weight loss. Insoluble fibre promotes regularity and a healthy digestive system. Soluble fibres can be found in oatmeal, beans, lentils, nuts, and fruits. While insoluble fibres are found in whole grains, barley, dark leafy vegetables, brown rice, and root vegetable skins.

 

two bowls of oatmeal with peaches

 

It is recommended to have at least 6 servings of grain products a day. The easiest way to increase fibre is to always choose whole-grain products rather than refined and processed grains. It is also recommended to have 7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. When preparing vegetables and fruits, eat peels whenever possible and snack on fruit rather than candies.

 

5. Fluid

 

As we age our sense of thirst declines, therefore older adults are more likely to experience dehydration! If fluid intake is consistently low, older adults can experience symptoms of dehydration – thirst, dry lips and mouth, flushed skin, tiredness, dark strong urine, headache, fainting and low blood pressure. Older adults need a minimum of 6 cups of fluid per day to remain hydrated and healthy! Prioritize your fluid intake by carrying a water bottle throughout your day, drinking water as the first and last task in the day, and by eating soup for lunch/dinner. Don’t ignore thirst! Drink before you feel thirsty. Drink, drink and drink water to combat dehydration!

 

Start a healthy lifestyle today!

 

It can feel overwhelming to start eating healthy but it’s not impossible. Eating healthy can be fun! Look up healthy and delicious recipes and start cooking away with your loved one. If cooking is not your thing, consider prepared meals by this local catering business. They make incredible healthy delicious meals and snacks! It’s never too late to start eating healthy. Why not start today?

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