Senior Minute: Fun & Family al Fresco

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contributing writer Amie Libby
contributing writer Amie Libby

Warmer weather has arrived and picnic season is in full bloom. For seniors especially, this is a great time of year to spend with loved ones without worrying about driving conditions or overcrowded indoor spaces. While it seems natural that people will be busier at this time of year, sometimes older family members are not able to keep up with the hectic schedules that the younger generations are accustomed to, so it’s a good time for all of us to slow down and to remember to include older friends or family in our schedules. Time is a commodity these days; I know that most people I talk to are pretty busy, especially my retired friends.

Things to be aware of when including older family members or friends in these summer activities are the weather, their health and their dietary needs. Often older adults have special needs based on their diagnosis or current medications. If you are doing any traveling or extended stays with older adults it’s a good idea to also keep extra prescriptions on hand, in case plans change so they don’t run out of their daily medications.

Some older adults also may not be able to keep up with the pace of their younger family members. If needed, make sure there is a comfortable place for your family to sit and relax and watch family activities. In some situations it may even be worthwhile to have a wheelchair or walker with a seat available just in case.

Reunions, picnics, birthdays, showers, summer holidays and many other outdoor family gatherings are all great opportunities for people of all ages to enjoy one another’s company in a relaxing atmosphere. I encourage you to take advantage of all those chances to spend time together, indoors or outdoors. Time spent together will benefit everyone.

You may be thinking that sometimes time together is not always fun for everyone. I agree. Mainly it’s because of the things I have mentioned above; weather, health and keeping up with younger generations. Grandparents and great grandparents really do enjoy spending time with all their younger family and friends, but like most things in life, they enjoy this time in moderation…not saturation. This is another tip to keep in mind. Will there be a nice balance in time spent together?

When in doubt, communication is the key to being successful in all of the scenarios I’ve mentioned. If you are not sure, ask. Encourage older family members to keep you informed of their needs.

Lastly, enjoy the summer weather whenever you can. We live in a beautiful area and we are blessed to have so many great locations to visit and spend our time.

Amie Libby is a Service Coordinator and works for Lutheran in the Senior Housing Division. Contact Amie Libby, at Lutheran Senior Housing 737 Falconer St., Jamestown, NY 14701 or by e-mail at amiel@lutheran-jamestown.org.