If you could do just one thing for your senior loved one today that could make a dramatic difference in their overall mood and outlook, what do you think it would be?
The answer, research says, is: Take them outside! Limited mobility may make it easier for your loved one to stay indoors. Scheduling a time to go outside each day for a short walk or to sit on the patio, however, could help brighten a morning and make life at home feel fuller.
However, initiating time outside each day may be met with resistance by a senior loved one that has established a routine of staying inside. The use of a wheelchair or a walker may make your loved one feel that they are drawing unwanted attention or there may be accessibility problems.
Your loved one may also feel that the benefits of going outside are not worth the trouble of the preparation involved. Bringing the outdoors in may whet the desire for a more complete encounter with nature. The following are some ways to ease into contact with the outdoors and make life at home pleasant.
- Open a window near a favorite chair. The feeling of sunshine or a fresh breeze through a window may lead to a desire to go outside.
- A flower box near a window or a bird feeder in a nearby tree can provide something interesting to view. Arranging for meals to be served near the window or a puzzle table set up there may encourage more time interacting with nature.
- Engage your loved one with a garden. Give them the opportunity to help decide what will be planted. Enhance the experience with seedlings started inside to provide as much involvement as possible. The reward of seeing the garden progress may tempt your loved one outside.
- Even a loved one confined to a bed can enjoy the experience of having the outdoors brought into their bedside. A live plant placed on a nightstand or on a nearby windowsill can provide a cheerful connection to nature.
- If your loved one has a private patio or porch, begin taking short trips to sit outside. They may feel more ready to venture out if they can enjoy privacy.
- Talk to a non-local family member about becoming a pen pal for your loved one. A walk to the mailbox to check for an expected letter can become an important routine that allows your loved one to get out in fresh air.
Once these routines have become comfortable, suggest a short walk around the neighborhood to your loved one. A ten-minute walk up the street or to a nearby park may help them feel energized and rejuvenated.
Make the most of the experience by ensuring that safety and comfort are important considerations as you plan to go outside. If your loved one is unsteady, make use of a walker or wheelchair. Check the weather forecast, so that unpleasant conditions do not deter your loved one from making future plans to go outside.
Helping your loved one get outdoors is an important part of a full life at home. Freudenthal Home Health is here to help you with taking steps to ensure that your loved one can safely and comfortably enjoy nature. Call us today at 816-676-8050.