Ideas for an active summer: 5 nursing home outdoor activities to try with residents

Many people think of nursing homes as stuffy buildings where residents are kept indoors all year round — but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

There are always opportunities to get outside to exercise, explore, and socialise. And here at Fulford, we encourage our residents to embrace the warm summer months with a full programme of exciting events and activities. 

Here, we share five of our favourite outdoor activities for nursing home residents. 

5 summer outdoor activities for seniors

1. Gardening

Our beautiful garden is in full bloom when June rolls around, and it’s a great place to enjoy some quiet reflection. However, for our green-fingered residents, it’s also the perfect opportunity to rekindle their passion with a spot of gentle horticulture. 

No matter if they want to prune, pot, or simply potter about, gardening is a terrific way to improve dexterity and add a little movement to someone’s day-to-day. 

2. Host a picnic or BBQ

Speaking of our garden, we don’t need a second invitation to enjoy a meal or two in the sunshine. 

Whether it’s a peaceful picnic complete with sandwiches, tea, and cake, or a BBQ with burgers, sausages, and sweetcorn, eating together outdoors is always a welcome change of routine.

3. Play lawn games (and other games)

We have a whole host of engaging games and activities for our residents to enjoy all year round. But when the sun is shining, we like to get outside and introduce them to some low-impact lawn games, like croquet, horseshoes, lawn bowls, and ring toss. 

These games can be played at their own pace, are good exercise, and can even spark a little competition between friends. 

And we make sure those with mobility issues aren’t left out. We bring our indoor games outside, regularly hosting board game afternoons or bingo in the shady spot of our garden. 

Here’s what one recent resident had to say about our outdoor social activities: 

I was in need of rehab after a nasty ankle injury, and Fulford Nursing Home, the last family-run home in York, came to my aid. Although in my 80th year, the only previous experience I had of other care homes had been as a visitor. I was not looking forward to the experience, but how wrong I was.
It was easy to slot into the daily routine, but the days had lots of stimuli to keep us interested.  The weather was glorious, and we sat in the pretty garden under huge umbrellas and played bingo, under the guidance of the work-experience youngsters, who were definitely keen to learn a game they had never played! 
These youngsters were really keen to chat with us all, telling us about their school and college life and asking about the resident’s favourite places and holidays.  The favourite places were discussed again when a special 360-degree headset was produced, and we viewed different places, for example, the Eiffel Tower, Ayre’s Rock, and swimming with dolphins. Everyone enjoyed that.

4. Paint

The bright and vibrant colours found in our well-tended garden mean there’s no shortage of inspiration when it comes to watercolours. As a result, we often host outdoor painting sessions for our residents, encouraging them to explore their creative side.

From a mental and physical health standpoint, painting has many benefits for seniors. It can help improve fine motor skills, boosts memory, concentration, and spatial awareness, and relieves stress.

5. Stretch, move, and meditate

Finally, the simple act of going outside has been shown to help with mental health problems such as anxiety and depression (something many residents encounter as they transition from home to nursing home life).

With this in mind, we like to offer light physical activities to get our residents moving around our outdoor space. From walks to yoga, it’s a chance for them to stretch and breathe in the fresh air.

And again, for those with mobility issues, we also encourage outdoor time with guided mindfulness and meditation sessions — another activity proven to boost mental health and well-being. 

Do you offer outdoor activities to seniors in York?

We want to hear from you! Contact us on 01904 654 269, and let’s chat about what you could offer our residents over the summer. 

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