Experiencing the great outdoors or an intimate conversation with friends and family can do wonders for your health. This proves to be even more true for older adults. Below, we will outline the benefits of social outings for seniors (and considerations for those with dementia), tips for making an outing fun and stress-free for all involved, and outing ideas for seniors by season.
Benefits of Outings for Seniors
Outings for senior citizens can lead to improvements in physical, emotional, and mental health. These benefits include:
- Improved cognitive function
- Better emotional health
- Improved mood
- Increased life span
- Improved sleep
- Better Vitamin D levels, which can prevent heart disease, osteoporosis, and some types of cancer
- Improved immune system
Outings for Seniors with Dementia
Dementia can have some unsettling effects, including increased agitation and boredom. However, if able, those with dementia should get outside and and enjoy their surroundings to improve outcomes. Benefits may include:
- Decreased feelings of social isolation
- Improved self-esteem
- Decreased blood pressure
- Lower risk of cardiovascular problems
- Improved sleep quality, which decreases risk of anxiety and depression
- Enhanced mood and lower stress levels
- More variety in their daily routine
- Improved reality orientation
- Creating new memories
Tips for Making an Outing Fun and Stress-free
Outings for dementia patients can be difficult to plan when taking one’s unique needs into consideration. Here are a few things to consider when planning an outing:
- Plan the outing around the ideal time for the patient.
- Pack necessary medications and belongings.
- Make sure your loved one is dressed in comfortable clothing.
- Speak with other family members and friends about what not to say or do.
- Avoid memory tests. For example, rather than asking your loved one if they remember someone, introduce them instead.
Outing Ideas for Seniors by Season
Planning an outing depends on the time of year. Weather, holidays, and current events should all be considered before heading out. To help get your mind thinking about what to do next, we’ve outlined five different outing ideas by season.
Winter Outings for Seniors
- Attend game nights at your local senior community center
- Take a shopping trip
- Take a swim at an indoor swimming pool
- Join a book club
- Take a fitness class at your local rec center
Spring Outings for Seniors
- Volunteer at a community cleanup or event
- Take a nature walk
- Enjoy outdoor seating at a fancy restaurant
- Plant a garden
- Visit your local farmer’s market
Summer Outings for Seniors
- Go on fishing trips
- Have a picnic
- Fly a kite
- Partake in birdwatching
- Get a metal detector and hunt for treasure
Fall Outings for Seniors
- Enjoy beautiful fall scenery by taking a walk through the park
- Prepare for trick-or-treaters
- Pick some apples
- Go to the zoo
- Begin looking for a Christmas tree
No matter the age, being able to leave the house from time to time is crucial to remaining healthy. Social isolation can hurt one’s well-being, or even more quickly intensify a general state of decline. Getting out and enjoying interactions with others is a tried and true remedy.