June 21 marks the first day of summer!
This is the season when the Brookhouse Home is especially beautiful because of our lovely grounds and gardens. We also benefit from the salt air and sea breezes off of Salem harbor. From our vantage point, we get to watch the schooners and sailboats come and go from the Derby wharf area and see locals and tourists walking by as they enjoy their visit to historic Salem. We are lucky and we enjoy every minute of our Brookhouse Home summer with our ice cream socials, an afternoon concert, summer evenings on the patio and walks to the water.
For seniors everywhere, the summer season often brings simple pleasures and happy memories. It is the time of year to try these ten suggestions for a fun and safe summer, according to a recent article.
1. Take a Walk Outside
Few things come close to that feeling of the warm sun against your skin, a sea breeze blowing through your hair, and the smell of the great outdoors during the summertime. Not only is taking a walk a fun way to spend time with friends and get outside, but there are also some great health benefits of going on these little adventures.
Some studies suggest that spending time outside can improve a healthy immune system, memory and even support creativity! Our home and location makes quite the backdrop for a late afternoon or early evening walk as it begins to cool down.
2. Reminisce on the Past
Summertime is an excellent time for seniors to recall happy summer memories. From days at an amusement park to trips across the country, seniors usually acquire a list of memories. One suggestion on how to share remembrances is to collect postcards of people and places from all over the world to share with residents. Additionally, reminiscing can have additional benefits for seniors, including better communication and reduced stress.
3. Work on a Craft
Working on a craft can help individuals express their emotions and develop fine motor skills. By producing a product, seniors can also increase their confidence, concentration and motivation. Working with clay in particular also offers significant benefits for aging adults, based on recent research. Art therapy also provides creative stimulation for aging adults and those living with dementia, according to Dr. Barbara Bagan.
4. Bird Watching & Nature Observation
Bird watching and other forms of nature observation are more versatile than most people know. It’s one of the most engaging outdoor and indoor summer activities for seniors. You can sit outside or go for a walk to observe birds and butterflies among other wildlife. Nature observation is a great way to appreciate the beauty of the environment around us and engage with the natural world in a new way.
5. Spend Time in a Garden
The summer is known as the growing season. Whether you have a green thumb or not, gardening is a great pastime. Not only will gardening provide fresh, delicious fruits and vegetables for nutritious, home-cooked meals, it has its own health benefits as well. Gardening can lower stress and raise serotonin. Some studies even suggest that it may boost heart and brain health and may lead to a reduced risk of heart attacks, strokes and forms of dementia, like Alzheimer’s.
Using raised garden boxes and the right tools for whichever plants you wish to cultivate can make the activity much less physically demanding for seniors with mobility and joint issues, while having the act of gardening remain just as enjoyable. At the Brookhouse Home, we use our raised garden to help our chef Dennis Cox add fresh vegetables, herbs and spices to his home-cooked meals.
6. Enjoy a Concert
Music is great on its own, but it just sounds better when you can enjoy it in a beautiful setting with others. Whether it’s at a large venue or at the local park with some local talent, a concert can make your day. We often have music outside at our home on the lawn and we also get to enjoy summer concerts, including the Fourth of July, on the nearby waterfront.
7. Play Games
Board games and card games are fun, competitive ways to help older adults stay engaged as well as socialize. An extensive scientific study shows that games and other leisure activities can reduce the risk of dementia. If the weather allows, consider playing outside games such as corn hole. At the Brookhouse Home, we play cards and games after dinner on our patio.
For those who desire some quiet time, putting together a puzzle indoors can be an alternative. According to another study, puzzling is helpful for seniors’ aging minds and provides a sense of purpose through their accomplishment.
8. Enjoy a Cold Treat
Summer wouldn’t be complete without ice cream! An ice cream social is a great way to engage with others while cooling off with a sweet treat. Further, ice cream might actually have a few health benefits. We look forward to our ice cream socials all summer long.
Need another excuse? National Ice Cream Day is July 21st!
9. Go out Earlier or Later in the Day
While the heat may limit some outdoor activities, it’s still important to get outside. Sunlight is a great source of vitamin D, which can help fight osteoporosis, anxiety and depression. Vitamin D also boosts the immune system and improves brain health. Getting outside for even a brief period, should be a priority for all aging adults–especially those fighting memory diseases. Consider taking a morning or evening walk. Be sure to bring along a bottle of water to avoid dehydration.
10. Go on a Day Trip
It’s always a shame to waste a beautiful day, so why not plan a day trip to the local flea market or mall? Or you could plan a nice lunch at a restaurant patio to enjoy the weather. If it’s too warm, take the shopping indoors to rest with some air conditioning before hopping to the next stop on your day trip.
We recently had a great day trip to the Boston Commons and a memorable lunch. Day trips are great and it is always great to get a change of scene!