Getting outside and breathing in some fresh air is a wonderful way for home health care workers to help improve their sick client’s mood. A change in scenery has been said to improve mental health and sunlight is an excellent source of vitamin D. Research has shown that vitamin D likely plays an important role in regulating mood and warding off depression. In the current pandemic climate, it can feel intimidating for sick clients to venture outside their homes, but there are many activities that they can still participate in safely! We put together a list of five outdoor activities you can do with your clients while keeping them out of harm’s way. As always, before you participate in any new activities, ensure you are following proper hygiene, safety protocols, and social distancing.
- Bird Watching
Help your client set up some birdhouses in their backyard and go for short walks, when possible, in natural spaces. Start a birding journal with them, where you can help them keep track of their sightings. Encourage your client to sit outside and write down all of the birds that they see throughout the week and then you can discuss their sightings with them during your visits. This will help give them a sense of purpose and something different to focus on and discuss. You can utilize Audubon’s website to help identify birds in your area.
- Backyard Bonfire
Bonfires are a favorite summer pastime that’s sure to make for an enjoyable experience. Set up chairs around the fire and choose the perfect stick for roasting marshmallows. This is a great way to enjoy the cooler nighttime air and an ideal setting to share stories! You could also try playing a game like “Two Truths and a Lie,” where one person shares two facts about themselves and one deception, and the other person will have to identify the lie! It will make for lots of laughs.
- Tea Party
Have a tea party outside with a few sandwiches cut into quarters and sweet treats. Choose from a few different teas that neither of you has tried before to make the experience more interesting. For even more fun, come up with a rating system to judge each tea by and keep track of your favorites! You can rate the teas by their aroma, flavor, value, and more.
- Yoga Class
Look up 5-10 different poses that you can walk your client through outside. Yoga is incredibly accessible, and it can even be done from a chair. Hold each pose for 3-5 breaths and repeat as needed. Not only will they reap the benefits of the outdoors, but they will also enjoy some light exercise that has an endless array of benefits. You can even print out the poses for them to try at their leisure. Very Well Fit has a few great gentle guides for yoga poses, including chair yoga suggestions.
Gardening is an easy way to give your sick client something to do and take care of throughout the week. From weeding to trimming and pruning plants, they will have lots to keep up within their yard. This activity also helps to maintain strength and flexibility and has been shown to be a very therapeutic hobby.