Spring has certainly sprung here in the Chicagoland area. At For Papa’s Sake Home Care, we love Spring because it’s a great opportunity to get our clients and Pearls outside and finally get some much needed fresh air. Winter is difficult for many people, especially seniors because it limits daily activities. Along with Spring comes unknown weather conditions, which makes it difficult to plan properly. Here are a few tips to help get us through the initial shock of Spring.
Dust Off Your Walking Shoes
Living in the Midwest, we are accustomed to getting cabin fever over the winter months. Our favorite activities are limited and it is difficult to socialize. If you’re like us, you’re not a fan of ice, snow, and cold weather. Once spring comes around, we can’t wait to get outside. Winter has probably limited the amount of fresh air we’ve gotten so it’s a great time to reacquaint yourself with nature and there’s no better way to explore the season than by walking. Health-wise, it’s one of the best physical activities for anyone, especially seniors. Walking has proven to have considerable health benefits including controlling blood sugar, supporting bone and heart health, and improving sleep.
Looking to socialize more? Walking is a great way to meet new people or plan events with friends. Perhaps look for a local walking club or hiking group - it can be an easy way to meet new friendly faces.
Remember to make sure that you choose a path that is appropriate for your current level of activity and balance. Wear supportive and comfortable shoes, as these can help reduce the risk of falls.
Grow Your Green Thumb
Living in the Chicagoland area, we are all guilty of having low amounts of Vitamin D. Gardening can boost levels of Vitamin D and help reduce the risk of bone problems and fractures. Gardening is a great activity for seniors no matter what level of expertise one has.
Gardening is great on an emotional level too. Getting outside, breathing fresh air, and listening to nature can be calming and relaxing. On a physical level, digging, planting, and weeding can improve strength, flexibility, and nimbleness.
Spring is a great time to explore new fruits and vegetables. Many healthy options like asparagus, peas, lettuce, and strawberries come into season in the Spring, making it the perfect time to replace heavier winter meals with salads, light soups, or other lightly cooked meals. Replacing foods with fruits and vegetables can help prevent heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and arthritis.
Also, cutting down on red meat and processed foods are always healthier options. Try replacing white flour with whole grain flour, and increasing your intake of produce as well as healthy fats such as olive oil and avocados.
Dehydration has proven to impact memory and concentration so it’s critical that we continue to drink water throughout the day. Staying hydrated also helps decrease fatigue and keeps people more active.
As a rule of thumb, aim for at least eight cups of water per day and be aware about the type of fluid that you drink. Water is always the best choice but other alternatives are herbal tea and fresh vegetable juices. Try staying away from sugary drinks and soda (or pop as we call it in the Midwest.) Try putting some of your favorite fruits and vegetables in your water. Some of our favorite combinations include mint & lemon, strawberries & basil, and cucumber & melon.
Dress for the Weather
Spring is one of those in-between seasons where you never really know how to dress. Some days are filled with breezy spring weather while others can be far too chilly or hot. When the sun is shining, always wear sunglasses and/or a hat to protect yourself from ultraviolet rays that can hurt your skin and eyes. Although it may not feel like the sun is hot, seniors are more likely to get sun-related injuries at a faster rate. And on the opposite front, always bring a light coat in case the weather turns chilly.