Summer can be a busy time, with lots of activities to do with family and friends. Seniors, who are older and may have limited mobility, can sometimes feel that their options are more limited. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case.
With a little planning, there are so many things that you can do to take advantage of the longer days and beautiful weather. Even if you use a wheelchair or a walker, that shouldn’t be a barrier to months of summer fun.
These suggestions will help you make a schedule full of entertaining and exciting senior-friendly activities.
1. Explore your neighborhood
Best for: People who live in urban or suburban areas
If you’ve lived in one place for a long time, it can feel like you’ve seen everything already. Unless you live somewhere extremely small, this is never actually true.
One day this summer, venture out and make a point of exploring new areas. Visit a new restaurant or purchase snacks from a local grocery store you’ve never gone into before.
Getting outside and meeting new neighbors is a great way to feel more connected to your community.
2. Plant a garden
Best for: People who love being outside in nature.
Besides being a fun activity, gardening actually has tons of surprising health benefits. In fact, studies have shown that just 30 minutes of gardening per day can relieve stress and boost mood.
It’s also much more physically strenuous than people realize. Digging, hauling dirt, and weeding are all great cardiovascular exercises. Additionally, it increases vitamin D exposure, which contributes to bone and muscle health.
Even if you live in a small apartment, you can plant a few herbs or flowers in a planter box or set of pots.
3. Visit a farmer’s market
Best for: Anyone who loves fresh fruits and veggies
If you can’t have a large garden to grow your own food, you can indulge in fresh fruits and veggies by visiting a farmer’s market. Most cities and towns have regular farmer’s markets during the summer months. Visiting your city’s website is a great place to look to locate local markets.
While you’re there, stock up on farm-fresh, in season veggies and fruit. Many markets also carry homemade baked goods, preserves, and even alcoholic beverages.
Farmer’s markets are great places to people watch, so you can enjoy some of your newly purchased bounty while watching the bustle of shoppers going by
4. Visit a museum
Best for: Arts and culture lovers
If the hot weather is overwhelming, try to cool down with some culture in a local museum. Considering these buildings are usually well airconditioned, they are a great place to spend a few hours on a hot day.
Most cities have several museums and galleries that you can visit depending on your interests. Depending on the museum, they may also host regular classes, workshops, and forums that you can take part in to meet new people.
5. Try gentle exercises like Tai Chi or yoga
Best for: Active seniors, or anyone who loves to move their body
If you’ve been feeling stiff or lethargic, try to get outdoors and move your body by taking part in a gentle outdoor exercise class. Local parks frequently host tai chi or yoga classes, which are often available free of charge.
Your local Parks and Recreation Department may have a listing of upcoming classes or you can search online to see whether any local gyms or exercise clubs are hosting offsite classes. Make sure to use the correct form and modify any exercises that strain your muscles too intensely.
6. Picnic at a local park
Best for: Social seniors or anyone who loves outdoor get-togethers
Instead of visiting a local restaurant for lunch, meet up with friends and have a picnic in a park. All you’ll need are some blankets and a selection of food that can withstand the outdoor heat.
Find a shady spot, lay down your blankets, and you can feast in comfort. Popular picnic fare often includes sandwiches, pasta salads, cut up fruit, and lots of cool drinks like lemonade and iced tea.
If you don’t feel comfortable sitting on the grass, you can often find parks with built-in picnic tables or benches.
7. Start a book club
Best for: Avid readers
If getting out in the heat seems overwhelming, organize a regular weekly get together indoors with friends. A book club is a great option. Since there is focused discussion, it’s a great place to bring together friends from different parts of your life.
Start with a small group of three to 10 people and canvass everyone for suggestions of which books to read. Many publishing houses offer free book club guides for their most popular titles, which you can use to guide the discussion.
8. Invite young people over for a tea party
Best for: Anyone with grandchildren or young family friends or the young at heart
If you have grandchildren or other young people in your life, invite them over for a fancy summer tea party. Little kids love the opportunity to dress in fancy clothes, drink out of beautiful cups, and eat adorable finger food.
You can even invite them to bring along their favorite doll or teddy bear, so they can take part in the festivities as well.
9. Go swimming
Best for: Seniors with joint or mobility issues
Swimming is a great form of exercise for people with joint issues or limited mobility. It improves heart health and reduces the risk of osteoporosis, all while being much easier on joints than other cardiovascular activities like jogging. You can take an aquarobics class or just indulge in some slow and easy lane swimming at your local pool.
There are tons of fun activities that you can take part in this summer. Whether you want to be out in the sun or can’t stand the heat, these ideas should help any senior fill your schedule and enjoy the summer months.