Activities and Tips for Older People and Carers In The Summertime
Summer can be a busy time for families, with holidays away and often additional childcare responsibilities to juggle. It can be difficult to always find the time for older relatives or to make them feel included in the summertime activities. It can also be a time when warmer temperatures (or incessant rain!) can make exercise and the usual outside activities more dangerous or unpleasant.
Summer Activities to Include your Loved One
If you are caring for an older person over the summer, here are some tips for activities you can do with your loved one:
- If you’re going away on holiday, send a postcard and keep in touch via Skype or Facetime. On your return, bringing back a small gift and sharing photos and stories will help to ensure your loved one feels included in the summertime adventures.
- Organise pictures, scrapbooks and share stories of family holidays past. Get younger members of the family involved and give your older relatives a chance to reminisce and share happy memories. You could even organise gifts of photos or a memory book for upcoming occasions such as birthdays and Christmas.
- If the weather is letting you down, plan trips to local museums and other indoor events. If reading is difficult, large print books and audio books from your local library can help someone with poor eyesight. You can also put together a special music collection to remind them of summers gone by.
- Check with local day care centres about planned activities and outings.
- Ask your loved one to share a skill with you. They may be able to show you how to make old family recipes or tell you about the family history. Asking their advice will make them feel useful and boost their self-esteem.
Staying Healthy in Summer
Summer heat can be particularly dangerous for older people. These tips will help ensure your loved one stays healthy in the warmer weather:
- Swimming and water aerobics are great ways to stay cool while exercising.
- Drink water. Older people are more susceptible to dehydration as the ability to conserve water is lost as we age. Sweat replacement products (that contain salt and potassium) are also useful to have.
- Stock up on light-coloured and loose-fitting clothes to help stay cool.
- If you’re outside, make sure your loved one wears sunscreen and a hat. Sunscreen is especially important to keep older skin healthy. Too much exposure to sunlight can also cause damage to the eyes, so be sure to pack the sunglasses. Keep track of the time and don’t stay out for long periods.
- Consider doing outdoor exercise like walking or gardening in the early morning or in the evening when the sun is not so strong.
- Shopping centres, cinemas and libraries provide welcome, cool spaces if your relative’s home isn’t air conditioned. It’s also an opportunity for some gentle exercise away from the summer heat.
- Warmer weather can be life-threatening for older people, so check on the health and welfare of your loved ones at least twice a day. If you’re going away, make sure you arrange for someone to check on them in your absence.
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