We can advocate that getting outdoors is important for physical and mental health, but unless the individuals can get outside, we are wasting our time. These are uncertain and dangerous times for the elderly and vulnerable, but it is important to look at ways of encouraging them into the fresh air.
Whilst we may be locked down for our own safety, it is important for all of us to have access to fresh air and if possible, the outdoors. So, to this end we must look at ways to encourage the elderly and vulnerable to, at least, take some fresh air.
Obviously, we must ensure that there is no interaction with anyone else outside of the immediate family group. This is a few ways for the elderly to enjoy time outdoors without having to overexert or put themselves at risk.
- Encourage them to sit by an open window for just a few minutes so that they can feel the fresh air on their face. Maybe they would enjoy this with a cup of coffee or tea. Hopefully, the sensation of the fresh air will inspire them to move outdoors.
- Set up a bird table or feeder in sight of the window or back door. Encourage them to help restocking the feeders.
- Maybe they have access to a patio or an enclosed back garden. This would be an ideal place to start by sitting out in the open. If they feel up to it, they could walk around the garden for a short while.
- Encourage them to take their hobbies and pastimes outside. What could be better that doing knitting, needlework, or a crossword in a warm shady corner of the garden. If they love painting, suggest plant still life’s or wildlife as potential subjects.
I write this from personal experience as my wife is in the vulnerable category and suffers physical illnesses. She has started joining my on short walks around the garden during my ‘work at home’ lunch break. It has certainly helped her through this period of fear and uncertainty.
Fresh air and the outdoors are crucial for our mental and physical health. But the safety of everyone is more important now. Please assess the risks and, if possible, get your elderly and vulnerable family and friends out into the fresh air.