While most senior living communities offer an array of programs and events, activities directors often work with limited budgets and are challenged to meet their residents’ varied abilities and interests. I was fortunate to have an exceptional nursing home close to my house during my caregiving years, and my parents, my uncle, my mother-in-law, and even an elderly neighbor all resided there at some point.
There were plenty of activities and events offered year-round and on holidays, but the annual summer barbecue and picnic were by far one of the most anticipated events. This nursing home featured an incredible outdoor space complete with a resident-tended vegetable garden, raised flower beds with wheelchair access, large trees, and an overhead trellis full of hanging planters and climbing vines that provided ample shade.
Every resident willing and able to enjoy this festivity was escorted outside to a comfortable location and looked after. Residents’ spouses, children, and grandchildren came to enjoy this event together. For years, a resident’s husband served as the grill master, cooking up hot dogs, burgers, and other barbecue favorites.
The smell of grilling meat mixed with the perfume of flowers and freshly mown grass brought back memories of easier times for many elders and their families. If ever a nursing home hosted an event where the phrase, “a good time was had by all,” was appropriate, this was it.
Creative Senior “Picnic” Ideas: Picnics and barbecues are symbolic of good times shared with others. They’re casual yet special. While these events are generally held outdoors, they don’t have to be. Not every assisted living community, memory care unit or nursing home boasts such an inviting outdoor community space, and the same can be said about many private residences. Still, it is possible to use this inspiration to come up with your own variations on a picnic that fit a loved one’s needs and living situation.
For example, my uncle loved going for car rides...
Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories.“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.” ...Craig William Dayton, Film Composer
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