Spring is progressing steadily into summer. Memorial Day officially marks the beginning of lazier days for many people. Family & friends gather for BBQ's by lakes, fish in rivers, go for hikes & enjoy the company of one another. Sometimes, however, these types of activities can become more challenging as we, our family or friends age. We still want to continue on with the traditional holiday celebrations for Memorial Day, the 4th of July & Labor Day, but find certain aspects difficult.
Accommodate for bugs. As we age, our skin thins & we can become extra sensitive to bug bites. Scratching at bites can cause tears in the skin that can take months to heal. You do not want your loved one to spend months recovering from a visit to your home. Plan ahead to either hold your gathering in a screened area or to provide bug spray or bug machines that will deter the pests from landing and biting. If you plan for a hike, walk or even a boating trip, be sure to bring along light-weight clothing or blankets that can be used to keep insects at bay.
Many older people enjoy being on the water, but find that the process to board & exit a boat becomes increasingly difficult because of sight & balance issues. Provide support as the walk down the dock. The waves of the water can make anyone's eyes play tricks on them. Consider a pontoon instead of a boat ride, as the entrance is straight across from the dock instead of a large step downward. Be sure that if you are going out during the bright sunlight that you provide a large brimmed hat, sunscreen or long-sleeved shirt to prevent sunburns. Also provide an ample supply of water to drink as dehydration becomes more of an issue with age & can have lasting effects. Also, remember that if your guest has hearing issues, the noise of the waves & the water can be irritating over a long period of time. Allow for breaks away from the water where they'll be able to hear well without difficulty.
Think about their digestion. Meals heavy in meat can be detrimental to the precarious balances going on in aging digestive systems! Provide meat, but also provide plenty of vegetables, & even consider some yogurt or other probiotic rich foods that will help digestion stay normal & healthy during their stay.
Try to place chairs on even ground. If you must place them in uneven places in the lawn, be sure that there is a cane nearby to make it easier to rise from the chair & also to walk around the grounds. Provide well padded seats for them to sit on & try to be sure that the seats are not too near the ground so that they will not have difficulty in taking their seat or getting up from it. Place a table & possibly an umbrella near them to keep them comfortable & make drinks & food available without having to balance them on their laps.
Be considerate of the amount of time that they may feel up to socializing. If they love to talk & tell stories, this may not be an issue, but if they've become accustomed to turning in earlier, take note so that they will not be too worn down the following day. You want them to have happy memories of gatherings, not to dread another one. Allow them to choose when they'd like to turn in or return home.
These tips may seem basic to those who are around an aging population on a regular basis, but are good reminders for all of us to try to see things from their perspective. If we'd like them to be active & involved in our holiday celebrations, there are small things that we can do to make it a more enjoyable time for everyone. If we're prepared in advance, we won't spend precious time with our guests by running for things to accommodate them better & can instead spend the time enjoying their company.