What can you do to foster a better connection with seniors?
May is Older Americans Month, a time set aside to recognize contributions from generations past to today.
Starting in 1963 with President John F. Kennedy, all chief executives have asked citizens to honor, support and engage with older people in their communities. It’s why there are now ceremonies, events, fairs, and numerous other activities to commemorate Older Americans Month.
This year’s theme is “Connect, Create and Contribute.” One of the ways Castle Senior Living looks to enrich the lives of older persons is by encouraging them to get outdoors. With the arrival of May on the calendar, we’re mostly in the clear for beautiful weather and it’s an ideal time to participate in the following:
- Gardening/Planting vegetables – Not only is it beneficial to grow your own fruits and vegetables, but the activity is an enjoyable way get some exercise. Seniors can increase their level of physical activity by gardening. It also boosts mobility, flexibility, endurance, and engages all of their motor skills. It can even help prevent diseases like osteoporosis.
- Birdwatching – Even if older people are not very mobile, caregivers can establish a comfortable environment for birdwatching indoors through an open or closed window. Those who might be wheelchair-bound can easily go outside and be pushed along a path or park by a grove of trees to observe our feathered friends. Escaping into nature calms the body, mind and spirit.
- Walking – For those who are fully mobile, walking is ideal. Light to moderate aerobic exercise along a path at home or in a park allows seniors to maintain their desired level of fitness. Some activity may include slow walks on a flat surface or embarking on longer hikes, especially for those accustomed to more demanding physical routines.
- Music – Attending an outdoor concert is a great place to socialize. Engaging in conversation with others seated nearby or even singing along with the music helps seniors improve their speech and self-esteem. Music also provides an outlet for self-expression, boosts mood and memory recall, and can even lead to a better night’s sleep.
- Short trips and outings – Taking short excursions away from home is important to help older persons enjoy the many entertaining activities where they live. Day trips to sporting events like baseball games, the local zoo or a farmer’s market help to expand their social circles and reduce any feeling of isolation they might be experiencing from the outside world.
While we encourage our residents to go outside every day that has nice weather, we also schedule specific events outside. Every Thursday in May, Castle residents will take part in outdoor exploring, but they won’t have to travel far. Instead, seniors will get their hands dirty in our planters, tucking seeds into the soil to grow seasonings or vegetables for our chefs to use in the kitchen, or raising flowers to add a touch of color to their view.