Thursday, July 11, 2013


   If your loved one is dealing with mobility issues, the simple act of going outdoors can be a daunting one. But breathing a little fresh air can do more than help diminish boredom and complacency. With the summer’s temperate heat, it’s a perfect time to get a senior outdoors. Stepping outside on a daily basis goes hand-in-hand with good health. According to one study, people who went outside on a daily basis are less likely to have a wide variety of health problems like chronic pain or sleep disorders and remained more active than those who remain indoors.

   For those who require assistance getting around, there might not be any interest in going outside. First, its difficult and the senior may feel all of the preparation needed is not worth the hassle.

   It’s also common for embarrassment and frustration to surface when going out requires a walker or a traditional wheelchair. (That may be why so many aging baby boomers find joy in using electric powered scooters.)

    How can you begin the process of getting your loved one interested in the outdoors? If he or she is resistant to the idea of going outside, you might need to look for ways to develop a desire for fresh air.

  • Suggest your loved one sit by an open window for a few minutes every morning. The feeling of fresh air on their face may inspire a brief venture outdoors.
  • Set up a window box or bird feeder outside a window and serve meals at the window.
  • If you have the space, consider planting a small garden. Not only will it bring some nature close to home, but new seedlings are exciting to watch as they grow and change each day. With a garden in the yard, the elder doesn’t have to go far, and a rewards awaits them – seeing the blooms.
  • If your loved one is bedridden and getting outdoors is not an option, bring the outside in. A plant or vase of flowers on a nightstand can help. Even better, if there’s a window in the room, open it and let the breeze in.
  • If you’re afraid that you or your loved one would forget to water the plants, ask your local nursery about self-watering pots.
  • If your loved one’s home has a private patio or porch, he or she may feel more comfortable and less embarrassed by being alone outside, without the watchful eye of neighbors or strangers.
  • Even going to the mailbox daily (either walking or in a wheelchair, if needed) can let the senior get a few minutes of fresh air. Routine is often comforting and this small daily task can do your loved one a world of good.
  • Once the senior has become accustomed to getting outside, take it step further. Suggest a short walk around the neighborhood or to a nearby park.