Now that winter is right around the corner, it’s a good time to start thinking about the types of activities that you can do with your elderly family members. Because of the cold and extreme elements in many parts of the country, outdoor activities are naturally limited. But this doesn’t mean that you and your family cannot still have fun and enjoy yourselves. Here are a few ideas to help you and your entire family to have a safe and enjoyable winter this year.
There’s a lot of studies out there, along with anecdotal evidence, that says active people are happy people. And happy people are more likely to be healthy people. What more could we want for our loved ones as they age? But the winter poses an extra set of risks, especially for those that are already struggling with the activities of daily living. If your older mom or dad is receiving in-home care or in an assisted living facility, getting out of the house to go somewhere might not be impossible, but it’s certainly going to be a little more difficult.
In these instances, helping them to foster hobbies can be very helpful. If they already had interests, this can be an easy way to help them spend more time with them. For example, if they are a movie lover, then you can purchase or rent some of their favorite classics online. Sometimes services like Netflix or Hulu will even have them. If they suffer from hearing loss, closed captioning can help, as can a personal listening system. There are many different routes that you can go when helping a loved one have a good time. It can also help them to grow closer to others and foster deeper levels of companionship, too.
It’s also important to remember that things like Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia may make certain activities a lot more difficult. Even if your loved one really enjoyed going out to places like restaurants or museums in the past, and had no trouble attending these things on their own, this is likely going to be a very different type of activity now. Finding activities that are not just handicapped accessible, but also places that make supervision a lot easier will be the key to enjoyment for everyone involved. If these things can be recreated within the home, either through technology or the creativity of you and your other family members, you can bring the fun right to your elderly parent and avoid the hassle of the wintry outdoors.
Finally, just remember that if you have any concerns about the safety or the health of a loved one, then that activity is probably a bad idea. The very young and the very old do not handle cold weather as well as the rest of us do, and it is always best to err on the side of caution rather than to “risk it.” If you have any questions about your loved one’s health or safety this season–or any other time–consult with a medical professional.