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Safe Summertime Activities for Seniors Who Are Social Distancing
Elizabeth Bemis

By: Elizabeth Bemis on June 19th, 2020

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Safe Summertime Activities for Seniors Who Are Social Distancing

assisted living  |  assisted living in ct  |  assisted living community  |  Independent Living Community  |  independent living  |  Aging & Caregiving

As seniors look forward to summertime after the long, dreary months of winter’s chill, the idea of having to continue social distancing may feel incredibly disappointing. In the midst of a global pandemic, safety remains a primary concern for older adults who face increased risk in contracting the virus. But the cancellation of community gatherings and in-person events doesn’t have to be devastating


There is still a host of fun and energizing summertime activities for seniors to enjoy even as they remain safely socially distant. It’s more important than ever for older adults to stay physically and mentally healthy. The change of season is a perfect time to capitalize on the socially distant activities—both indoors and out—that put a swing back in your step, or that of an aging loved one.

Get Down to Earth with Gardening

Gardening is one of the most satisfying of nature’s experiences and is an especially inviting activity come summertime. From digging and planting to watering, weeding and harvesting, this hobby stimulates the senses, fosters a treasured connection with nature and delivers delicious and beautiful rewards in the form of fresh food and flowers.


Think about exercising your green thumb and taking up a summer gardening project. If you’re new to this activity, you should consider starting small. Rather than working an entire piece of expansive ground, choose an area with limited space. Hanging plants and pots are also good alternatives to a traditional garden patch.


Invest in foam grips designed to add traction and soften the handles of gardening tools, as well as grabbers that can be utilized while seated to prevent unnecessary strain. You might try to avoid working with high-maintenance plants that require a great deal of attention in order to thrive. Instead, choose tolerant plants, flowers and vegetables that can stand up to heat, drought and pests better than more delicate or exotic choices.


Craft a Work of Art

Creativity is a major contributor to self-expression, critical thinking and other mind-body benefits. For seniors, engaging in crafty projects is a great way to keep the hands and mind busy. For these reasons, taking up a summertime craft is one of the most worthwhile activities for seniors who are social distancing. 


Whether you’re a novice crafter or a full-fledged artistic guru, there are crafting opportunities to fit every capability level and interest. Opt for something small and simple or delve into a more involved project that matches your unique skills. 


The range of summer craft ideas for seniors is seemingly endless, but if you’re short on ideas, here are a few you may like to try:


  • Constructing wind chimes
  • Making bird feeders
  • Sketching or painting summertime scenes
  • Arranging fresh flowers
  • Painting garden rocks and slates
  • Building paper lanterns


Each of these crafts will help you (or the senior in your life) stimulate your creative side while working toward a final product you can be proud to use or display.


Get Lost in a Different World

Reading is scientifically linked to a number of positive outcomes for older adults, including enhanced memory retention, sharper decision-making skills, stress reduction, improved sleep and even the delayed onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia. And given the enjoyability factor for many readers, this is an ideal summertime activity for seniors.


When was the last time you or the senior in your life seized on the opportunity to check out a bestseller or read the newest release from a favorite author? If you’re craving social interaction but want to remain safely socially distant, form or join a virtual book club. Or simply get absorbed in a good book while relaxing in your favorite outdoor spot. 


Some seniors enjoy the experience of reading aloud to one another. If that’s the case, you can do so with a spouse or live-in family member, or you can plan to read together with a loved one via phone or video chat. There’s also the option of listening to an audiobook if that better suits your preferences and needs.


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Get Swept up in Summer Cleaning

It just might be time to declutter, organize and freshen up your living space. summer is the season of renewal, so get caught up in the fever by ridding your home of mess and junk.


You can start in the kitchen as you clear out the refrigerator and pantry of stale food, remove infrequently used appliances from the counter, organize cabinets and create front-row spaces for more frequently used items. Over in the bathroom, rid yourself of expired, unused medication, being sure to check labels and ensure proper storage. In common areas, tidy up, trash the clutter and clear any obstructed walking paths. While you’re at it, check your smoke alarm system and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they’re functional, look at the expiration on your fire extinguishers, and assess and restock your emergency kits.


Whenever summer cleaning, remember not to move furniture or heavy objects on your own. Don’t stand on a chair or ladder to clean hard-to-reach spots or change light bulbs. And prevent unnecessary strain by opting for cordless cleaning tools and lightweight equipment.


Lunge into a Walking & Stretching Routine

The arrival of blue skies and sunny days in summertime means warmer weather is on its way. For older adults who’ve spent the winter hibernating and a good chunk of the Spring season indoors for precautionary reasons due to the pandemic, it also signifies the perfect chance to get moving. 


Seniors who maintain walking programs experience significantly improved health compared to their non-walking peers. Benefits include reduced risk of premature death, heart disease, colon cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis and stroke. An effective weight control measure, walking additionally helps increase balance, strength and flexibility, which reduces the risk of trips and falls.


Whether you’re a daily walking enthusiast or only interested in minimal activity, stretching is also an important part of the exercise equation, and can be done nearly anywhere at any time. In addition to helping the body stay limber, stretching has other benefits, including pain relief, reduced stress, better circulation, improved self-confidence and independence, and an overall feeling of improved wellbeing. 


Summer is a wonderful time for older adults to take steps toward better flexibility and overall fitness, an effort that doesn’t require you to infringe on social distancing measures. Regardless of how you decide to celebrate the season, be sure to get out in the fresh air and take up activities that energize your soul.


For additional tips on senior health and lifestyle issues, check out our blog. If you’re interested in learning more about United Methodist Homes senior living community, contact us today.


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About Elizabeth Bemis

In 1998, I drove past an assisted living community construction site, learned that it was part of United Methodist Homes and realized the next stop on my professional journey was to work for a mission driven organization. Soon after, I joined the team as Executive Director of our Middlewoods of Farmington community and later served as Regional Manager for the Middlewoods properties before accepting my current role as Vice President of Marketing, Promotions, and Assisted Living Operations. I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, reading, walking, and love working alongside our staff, residents, and families to build strong communities that reflect the mission, vision, and values of United Methodist Homes.

Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.