This month, we’re zeroing in on six key ways seniors of any physical ability or age can make the most of spring, to reap its full benefits. What should you and your loved ones be keeping in mind?
- COVID-19 mandates are lifting. Here in Quebec and right across the country, the bulk of protective pandemic restrictions have lifted. Combined with falling infection rates, this represents a whole season of new opportunities for seniors to begin safely welcoming friends and family back into their lives. It’s also a chance to start venturing back out into the world. Naturally, change can be tricky. Some seniors may feel nervous about public spaces or family visits—and that’s okay. A staged approach, geared to an individual’s specific comfort level, can be a great way to start experiencing the best of the season.
- The days are getting longer. Vitamin D counts for a lot, and most of us are starved for it by the time March finally rolls around. Luckily for seniors, longer days mean more sunshine and with it, extra opportunities to boost mood and wellbeing. Take advantage of sunny days any time they arise. Keep in mind: many older adults don’t get regular exposure to sunlight, and can have trouble absorbing Vitamin D. Any concerns should be discussed with the doctor.
- Sidewalks are clearing up. As snow and ice give way to dryer ground, seniors can once again get outside and walk. This can unlock all kinds of health benefits for older adults. The key is to ensure folks are walking at a pace, and on terrain, that’s appropriate for their physical abilities. Consider how you can stretch your legs this spring, while always watching for signs that you may be going too far, too fast.
- Flowers are set to bloom. Resilient crocuses and determined tulips are about to poke through the last of the snow drifts, and that’s good for everyone. Studies have shown that flowers can have a major impact on mood. In one study, participants reported feeling less depressed, anxious or agitated after receiving flowers. Seniors can get in on the uptick that florals provide by embracing their own garden, or checking out local flower venues (as mobility allows). Montreal’s botanical gardens are home to 10 different greenhouse exhibits, once again open to the public. Garden centres are gearing up to reopen, providing ample opportunities for seniors to stroll through heated nurseries stocked with floral beauties. All three options provide safe ways for seniors to interact with spring’s natural gifts.
- Birds are back in town. In many parts of the city, a quick walk to the car or around the block is now a testament to the return of local birds. Their songs are already bringing neighbourhoods to life after a winter hiatus. Setting up a bird feeder within easy viewing distance of the house can be a great way to help seniors connect with the miracle that is spring. Investing in a set of binoculars or a bird breed book can help keep mental faculties strong, as seniors dig in to identify various species. Anyone looking for a more adventurous experience as the birds return might consider checking out the many kinds of birds that call Montreal’s biodome or eco-museum home.
- Fresh air is abundant. Even short amounts of the oxygen boost that comes with fresh air can fuel happiness and wellbeing. As the temperatures rise, Montreal seniors can throw on a jacket and start populating balconies, front porches and back decks. Not only does this offer a meaningful change of scenery after so many months indoors; it also provides reinvigorating and cleansing air flow to signal winter’s end. That’s everything.
The change of seasons is always a magical time. That’s especially true as the pandemic recedes, and seniors look to re-engage with the world. Think about ways you, or the seniors you love, can get out and enjoy all the enchantment that spring can bring. Senior health and wellness only stand to gain from doing so.