The sun is shining, birds are singing, and flowers are in bloom. What a perfect day for a picnic! Enjoying the outdoors is beneficial for all ages, especially elders with limited mobility.
Planning a picnic has many benefits for a senior with limited mobility. Picnics are slow-paced, low-stress activities that encourage a senior to:
-Break up the monotony of day-to-day life
-Venture outdoors and be exposed to Vitamin D
-Socialize with family members or friends they don’t often get to see
-Involve themselves in and contribute to a group activity
But how can you plan a picnic with all of the limitations of your senior loved one in mind?
A good place to start is selecting a location. Depending on their physical or mental limitations, different locations may be better suited to have your picnic. For example, if a senior uses a walking cane, but is still steady enough on their feet, a park with a grassy field can work perfectly. However, if a senior is wheelchair bound, it would be best to look for a location with paved paths or walkways. It’s also a good idea to take into account how much energy the elderly or handicapped will expend getting from the car to the picnic spot. If you spend just a few minutes researching locations, you are more likely to plan a picnic that everyone can enjoy.
The next step is planning and preparing the meal. Some seniors have dietary restrictions or a suggested meal plan from a doctor. If these factors allow for it, keep your dishes simple. Something as easy as sandwiches and bottled water can still make for a fun lunch. A good way to involve a senior is to ask them to help supply the picnic. Do they have a favorite meal or dessert they like to make? If they are unable to cook, could they bring paper plates, cups, or silverware? Could you ask them to help you plan the menu? By involving them in planning the picnic, you add a sense of accomplishment to an already exciting event for all. Make sure to be conscious of any food that needs to be kept hot or cold when transporting it.
Lastly, try to plan some activities that a senior with limited mobility can enjoy. A deck of cards, a board game, or a puzzle are great ways to have fun after the meal is over. Encourage family and friends to talk with and listen to your senior loved one. A bright atmosphere such as a picnic on a sunny day can lead to positive conversations that can bolster the spirit of a senior with limited mobility.
Planning a picnic for a senior with limited mobility has many benefits. Being outside benefits their health both physically and mentally. It also provides a chance to make good memories, both for a senior and for you as the caregiver. Social events such as this help bring a senior together with people they do not often spend time with due to their limited mobility.
Now is the perfect time to start planning!