Many of us were filled with expectations that we were going to have a mild winter, with primarily rain in most parts of the country.
Little snowfall was to come and envelope us in the winter spirit.
A mild winter leaves us all wondering when spring might arrive because we are just itching to get to more warm weather activities.
Oops, not this year!
Most of us got socked with some winter weather and colder temperatures.
Some of us already had spring bulbs breaking their flower heads up through the ground. They were trying to speed up the springtime too!
Family caregivers who need some spring sunshine to brighten their day can bring a little springtime into their lives with a few new activities.
Springtime evokes memories of warmer weather and things we used to do when we were young.
Our senior loved ones have these special memories of growing up and raising a family too and associate them with changing seasons.
Spring is a season connected with many happy and fun activities.
Here are some activities that many of us enjoy and relate to springtime:
- planting and picking flowers
- getting a garden started
- working in the yard
- taking a walk through nature
- walking in a rain shower under an umbrella
- going on a picnic
- flying a kite
- picking berries
- sitting in the sunshine
There are many of these activities that we can recreate in the house especially for senior loved ones with mobility issues, even though it is not yet spring.
Crafting and other activities in the house are good times for multi-generations to spend time together and reminisce about the past.
My granddaughter, who lives in another state, makes me a picnic from her bedroom kitchen and we share the meal and fun over Facetime a few days a week. She is really going to be excited the next time she visits grandma and I have a real picnic basket ready to go to the park and enjoy!
At Home Projects for Springtime
There are many things we can do at home with our senior loved ones (and grandkids) if we want to bring a little spring into all our lives.
The idea of these activities is not to end up with a masterpiece but to open a dialogue with your senior, include other members of the family, reminisce, share experiences and alleviate boredom.
1. Create Some Springtime Indoors
We can bring some flowering shrub branches in from the yard and force them to flower in the house by putting them into a flower vase. Forsythia or honeysuckle will flower in about 2 weeks. Don’t put these branches in direct sunlight until bloomed.
The flowers your senior watches bloom will bring them spring joy as they wait for winter to end.
2. Plan Your Spring Garden
Involve your senior in planting the garden. Begin planning it, talking about what flowers or vegetables would grow well, what type of seeds would be needed, how many plants should you plant in your space, what they grew when they had a garden, looking at seed catalogs, how did they control weeds, and other experiences they had with the garden are great talking points.
Let them draw out a plan if they can or look through gardening books you have already or borrow from the library.
You can begin with a few pots of plant soil and seeds and begin to grow some plants together indoors. It will give them something to care for by watering and watching them growth. Perhaps some herbs or a seed that grows quickly like sunflower would be a good choice to start. Use the bottom of a water bottle to hold the dirt, they can decorate it too.
It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive.
3. Take a Walk in Nature
If the weather cooperates and they are able, take a nature walk, even if it is just in your yard or neighborhood.
Pick up leaves, acorns, rocks, moss or other things you find. Bring those home and use them for craft projects. Talk about the trees in the area, the birds in the trees, the feeling of the moss or anything related to your walk. Listen to music that has birds singing or water rippling to evoke the memories of nature. Make a frame or a wreath with some of your finds.
Use the items you find for tactile sensory stimulation activities.
4. Make a Bird Feeder
Make a feeder for the birds who will soon return to the yard using simple household items, such as a toilet paper roll covered in peanut butter and rolled in sunflower seeds. Hang this with a ribbon or twine in a tree that can be seen from a window and watch as the birds or squirrels enjoy the food.
Talk about the type of birds they see or their favorite songbird.
5. Recreate a Fishing Trip Indoors
Springtime, when the weather warms up, is for many a fun time to go fishing. Can you recreate a fishing game using an old tub and some homemade fish? Construction paper with a little artwork work well to make fish. Pull out a well-loved fishing pole with a red and white sinker and use magnets to catch the fish in the tub.
Talk about their epic fishing trips. Where in the country did they fish? Where would they like to travel to go fishing? Who accompanied them on the fishing trip? Are there family pictures showing a great catch? Did they eat the fish they caught? How did they cook their fish? Can you cook up a fish dinner with one of their favorite recipes? Who would they invite to dinner now?
6. Time for an Indoor Picnic
Make a picnic in the living room. Let them help gather a picnic blanket, some cheerful plates and utensils. Have them plan a menu and help prepare the foods you will serve at the picnic. There are so many options here with pick up foods, sandwiches, cupcakes, pickles and beverages that can open up many avenues of discussion.
Where was their favorite spot to have a picnic? Did they have a picnic basket they enjoyed filling? Do they still have it and can you pack it up for your living room picnic? Who did they share their picnic with in the past or who would they invite now?
Can you call a grandchild on your smartphone and invite them to come virtually? Do they have photos in an album of picnics?
7. Go Fly a Kite
Who doesn’t love to fly a kite in a brisk breeze?
Together you can build a kite from a store or make one at home with tissue paper and an old sheet for a tail. Talk about what it takes to build a kite or get it flying. Wind helps it fly, what does the wind feel like in their face? Who can help them get it off the ground?
Where is the best place to fly a kite? What color is their favorite for a kite? How long should the string be to get up high in the clouds?
8. Go Berry Picking
Do you have a berry picking farm near you? If so, when are the strawberries and blueberries ready to pick? Can you take your senior to the berry patch and pick some?
What would they like to make with the berries they pick? If you can’t pick berries yet, maybe you can buy some from the grocery (fresh or frozen) and together make a special berry recipe like a pie, muffins or a milkshake. What is their favorite berry or pie recipe?
Did they grow berries in their garden? Would they like to plant a blueberry bush?
9. Enjoy the Sun
Sit back and enjoy the sun coming in the window. Maybe you can get a folding chair and sit on the lawn or a blanket.
If you have a porch, can you spend an hour with a refreshing spring beverage like mint tea or lemonade sitting with your face in the sun. Breathe in the fresh air and listen to some fun music or just listen to the birds and the bees buzz.
What are their fondest memories of sitting in the sun on the porch? Did they have a favorite chair or a favorite drink?
The joy is being in the moment with your senior loved one no matter what you choose to do.
Create Special Times in Any Season
Try to take the time to share special times and relive memories of their life.
When they tell you their stories in these unguarded times, they are memories that you will cherish.
You may hear something you never knew about your senior loved one!
It doesn’t take a lot of time, effort or money to bring springtime activities and memories of a simpler time home but will return riches to you and your family.