The temperature’s up, the sun is out (depending where you live!), and plants are in bloom. It’s time to get outside and let nature raise your spirits. Remember to wear hats and sunscreen, and try these four fun, senior-friendly ways to spend an afternoon with your loved one.
1. Visit a Botanical Garden or Take a Garden Tour
Everyone loves flowers, and visiting a garden is the perfect way to get out and smell the roses. (Or peonies, or snapdragons, or . . . ) It’s also a fun way to learn or relearn the names of some of your favorites. Larger towns and cities often have botanical gardens, and university towns sometimes have test gardens or greenhouses. If yours doesn’t, a garden tour is another fun option. Check your local paper or town website for garden tours, which are often benefits for local charities or organizations.
2. Watch a Baseball, Soccer, or Basketball Game
No need for the hassles of a stadium; your local Little League is practicing down at the community center, soccer teams are training on school fields, and even the park basketball courts are full of action. Take your loved one down to watch a game and have a snack or picnic on the bleachers. (Don’t forget dessert from the ice cream truck, if it passes by!) Sitting among parents and friends cheering on young players is also a chance for seniors to mix with younger generations and feel the energy of happy families. Of course, if your loved one has a grandchild, other young relative, or a neighbor in the game, that ups the fun factor even more.
3. Stroll the Farmer’s Market
It seems almost every town or county has a farmer’s market now, perhaps once a week or even just once a month. And there’s no better place to sample the bounty of summer. Look at the fresh flowers; taste locally made goods such as jams, sauces, and honey; and choose a few fruits and veggies to bring home. (Keep an eye out for in-season cancer-fighting foods like blueberries, too.) Even if your senior loved one isn’t mobile enough for a long walk, you can always sit down with cup of tea or a cold drink, sample the baked goods, and watch or listen to the strolling entertainers. Many towns now have outdoor concert series on warm nights, which can make your visit even more special.
4. Go to a Nursery and Plant a Mini Garden
No matter where you live, everyone has room for a container, hanging pot, or indoor plant for the windowsill. And nurseries are so much fun this time of year, bursting with bloom. Buy a pot and have fun choosing a few plants to put in it, or replenish a container you already have. A bonus: Many nurseries have walk-through gardens to show off larger trees and shrubs and garden furniture, which can be nice places to sit awhile.
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Melanie Haiken is a senior editor at Caring.com, the leading online destination for caregivers seeking information and support as they care for aging parents, spouses, and other loved ones. Melanie has written about health and family-related issues for numerous magazines and websites and has worked for San Francisco’s renowned Center for Investigative Reporting.