Summer in New Zealand brings plenty of warm days, but that doesn’t mean fun is off the cards for seniors. Even if you are more susceptible to the heat, there are many ways to enjoy yourself this summer and stay cool at the same time! Here is how it’s done…
There are many benefits associated with getting out and about. As well as being active, you also get fresh air in your lungs, vitamin D from the sun and a sense of connection with your local community.
Unfortunately some seniors choose to remain indoors at home over summer to stay cool, but that means they’re missing out on opportunities to be social and remain active.
So to help you have a summer that’s enjoyable, we asked our CAREGivers to share the activities their seniors enjoy partaking in, even when it’s warm outside.
There were ideas for all interests and abilities, and we hope you find something to try from the list below! Let’s get started.
Attend community events
Summer is a busy time of year, and that means there are always lots of events happening around the community. Over the next few months we have Christmas and New Year’s Day, among plenty of other things, and these events really bring out true community spirit.
Ways to get out and be part of your local community include:
1. Christmas carols and concerts
2. Arts and craft markets
3. Outdoor cinemas
4. Local library activities
5. New Year’s Day celebrations
Community newspapers and your local council website are good places to look for events that you might like to attend.
Spend time outdoors
You can still spend time outside in summer, but try to avoid being outdoors in the middle of the day when the temperature is warmest.
When it’s not too hot to go out, ways to enjoy being outdoors include:
6. Nature walks
7. Morning or afternoon tea in the park
8. Twilight lawn bowls
9. Ice-cream by the water
10. Garden tours
Other outdoor activities in your area could also include community gardens or live entertainment in the park.
Engage with the arts
When it’s simply too warm to be outside but you wish to be out and about, try cultural activities instead.
Places like art galleries have great air-conditioning, and visiting them is a fantastic way to keep your brain active too! Here are some ways to enjoy arts and culture:
11. Art galleries and museums
12. Local theatre shows
13. Talks at libraries and community centres
14. Book club or craft club
During summer, cultural organisations will organise end-of-year concerts and Christmas events, and galleries and museums often host their major exhibitions over the December/January period. That means there is plenty to see and do!
Sometimes the heat can drain your energy, so you may need to modify your physical activity in summer.
If you find it’s too hot for outdoor lawn bowls, for example, you may enjoy water activities instead. You might also get creative and decide to try something new like dance classes, which are held indoors.
These are some popular ways to keep fit over summer:
16. Tai chi
17. Aqua aerobics
Your local council will also have information about community fitness activities for groups, such as tai chi.
Tips for heading outdoors in summer
As New Zealanders, we are used to planning for outdoor summer activities – remembering to ‘slip, slop, slap’ is second nature to us, but there are a few extra things for seniors to think about.
The first is to avoid being outside during the hottest time of day, which is generally between 10am and 4pm. Plan outdoor activities such as walks, lawn bowls and gardening for mornings or evenings.
When you are outdoors, try to stay in cool, shaded or breezy areas and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Once the day cools down, continue to keep your fluids up even if you don’t feel too thirsty.
Finally, as the ‘slip, slop, slap’ guidelines recommend, remember to wear a hat, sunscreen and clothing made from breathable fabrics like cotton.
Accessing home help during summer
Some activities become difficult in summer, like waiting for public transport on a hot day, hanging out the washing in the sun or cooking a meal on a humid night.
Many seniors find that home help is beneficial in summer for getting transport to appointments and having a hand with strenuous chores like cooking, carrying groceries and cleaning.