Summer is the season for many fun activities, from fireworks and festivals to water activities and cookouts. August is National Picnic Month, so what better way to celebrate than to plan a picnic for you, your family and your aging relatives. Picnics are ideal for seniors who don’t often get out much due to mobility problems. Even aging adults who depend on elder care providers can benefit from weekly picnics in parks around town.
What’s Special About Picnics?
Picnics are closely associated with family fun and holiday activities and events. Every elderly person probably has memories of picnics they’ve attended since childhood. Eating outdoors in a lovely park is something out of the ordinary, making it fun for young and old alike. Fresh air and sunshine is good for bodies of any age, and elderly people often don’t get enough of either. The extra physical activity they get from moving about also makes them stronger and healthier.
Picnics are especially nice for seniors because they can participate with other family members. There’s no strenuous activity or difficult obstacles for the most part, so seniors of all abilities can enjoy being with others and remain safe, comfortable and involved. Many aging adults struggle with isolation and boredom, so picnicking provides a break in the routine that can lift their spirits and bring them happiness.
Senior Picnic Tips
The centerpiece of a picnic is the food, of course. While it may seem easy to just throw a bunch of food together, family caregivers and elder care providers must do everything they can to keep the food safe from bacteria.
Here are just a few tips to ensure that the picnic and the people stay healthy:
-All perishable food should not be left out for more than one hour in temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. In other words, use coolers to keep hot food and cold food at the proper temperatures.
-When cooking hamburgers or hot dogs outside, use a food thermometer to ensure the internal temperature is safe.
-Use plenty of non-perishable foods such as chips, whole fruit, dried fruit, pre-packaged snacks, trail mix, seeds, and pretzels.
-Keep perishable food cool with coolers and frozen gel packs. Open the coolers as infrequently as possible to ensure proper temperatures.
-Bring plenty of water to ensure that everyone stays hydrated. There might not be a drinkable water source at the picnic area.
-If picnic-goers don’t have access to a place to wash hands, bring hand sanitizer to cut down on germs.
-Keep seniors out of the sun by setting up in a shady area and putting plenty of strong sunblock on their delicate skin.
August is the time of year for all kinds of celebrations, like family reunions, community festivals and the last weeks of the school summer holiday. Of course, there doesn’t need to be a reason to plan a picnic because aging adults will enjoy them no matter what as long as they can be part of the fun.