As the weather continues to warm up, most of us are eagerly seeking opportunities to spend more time outdoors. There is nothing like the smell of flowers, plants, and fresh air to invigorate our senses and renew our spirits.
For individuals living with dementia, an hour spent outdoors can actually do wonders to improve their physical and emotional wellbeing.
That’s why at our Anthem Memory Care communities we schedule as many outdoor activities and events as possible. Our residents enjoy a walk, a barbeque, a concert under the stars, or simply sipping an ice tea or lemonade in our courtyard.
If you are like many who are caring for a loved one with dementia, you’re always looking for ways to improve their daily experience (as well as your own).
Here are 5 great ways to get your loved one outdoors and enjoying the benefits of fresh air:
- Walking. Always a good activity to bring more oxygen to your body and keep your joints and muscles healthy. Keep your walks short. Even a stroll around the back yard can be refreshing.
- Gardening. Brings the added benefits of a purposeful activity as you plant, grow and care for your plants. If bending over is difficult for your loved one, try placing a planter, soil and plants on an outdoor table. Let them help you transplant the buds into the planter. It’s fun and often gets a good conversation going.
- Dining. From a cup of morning coffee to a picnic, the enhanced sensory experience can improve appetites and make everything taste better. A daily ritual of coffee in the morning on the patio not only creates structure, it gives your loved one something to look forward to each day.
- Meditation. Outdoor relaxation and deep breathing of fresh air can help relieve stress and instill a sense of calm. Consider adding some simple yoga movements to help improve muscle elasticity and joint health.
- Sports. Whether you are simply watching others throw a ball around or participating, it is a great way to connect to the outdoors and to family and friends.
The best time to start? Right now, weather permitting! Take a walk outside, breathe in the fresh air and enjoy some sunshine on your shoulders. And, for those of you who are family caregivers, make sure your loved one is by your side.
(Our header image is of two amazing members of the Highline Place Walking Club! Highline Place Memory Care is located in Littleton, Colorado.)