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Best summer activities for older people

Summer is a blessing and a curse for older Australians due to its potential to reach high temperatures that can be dangerous to be out and about in.

Last updated: January 16th 2023

Key Points:

  • Having fun and staying safe is possible, even in the heat of summer 
  • Picking when and where you go outside can help you enjoy the outdoors when it isn’t so hot 
  • There’s plenty to do inside as well to stimulate your mind and body while treating your taste buds

Older people can struggle more in the heat and you may feel limited by high temperatures and extreme weather during summer, but there are many ways to enjoy the season while staying sun safe.

Whether you like being out in the elements or prefer to sit inside under the air conditioner, here are activities you can do to enjoy this warm period.

Staying active and cool

While the heat may limit some outdoor activities, it’s still important to get outside. 

A well-known source of vitamin D, sunlight can help with osteoporosis, anxiety and depression and neurodegenerative diseases like dementia. 

Low-impact exercises that can be done outside are beneficial for older people such as tai chi, lawn bowls and walking.

If you are going to be out and about during the day, consider going in the early morning or evening to avoid the harshest part of the day’s heat. 

Always remember to wear appropriate sun protection, walk in the shade where possible and bring some water with you so you can stay hydrated. 

You can read more about sun safety for older people in our article: ‘Slip, slop, slap: Staying sun safe as an older person’.

Swimming and water aerobics are other activities that can keep you fit and health as well as keep you cool.

Alternatively, there are some exercises that can be done inside rather than out in the heat.

Stretching, yoga and utilising exercise equipment, like a treadmill, can be done inside the comfort of your own home.

The main thing is to not let hot weather stop you from  undertaking health and  wellbeing activities that you enjoy. 

Pushing your brain

If being outside isn’t your thing, using your brain can also be a great stimulus all year round!

Board games and card games are the best way to have fun inside while also socialising with others. 

If you’re after a solo project crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles and sudoku can be fun ways to stimulate your brain and build concentration skills. These activities are also helpful to fight off the symptoms of dementia.

Similarly, arts and crafts like painting, drawing and colouring are excellent stimulants for those living with dementia or those trying to prevent it. 

These kinds of activities are also used in art therapy to help you express emotions and develop fine motor skills, so they are a good choice if you want to remain sharp but have fun in the process!

Engaging in entertainment

Today, there are many forms and means of entertainment that can be done alone or with the company of others and are great for warm days.

Reading a book or listening to the audio version, watching a film or a series on television or playing a board game are great ways to have fun while staying cool, whether inside under the air conditioning or outside in a nice shady spot.

These forms of entertainment are easy to access and can provide an immersive escape and can help take the focus off of any ailments or worries you may have. 

If you’d prefer to enjoy these activities with others, try to find a local book or film club to join to keep you both mentally and socially engaged. 

Getting creative in the kitchen

Nothing beats fresh fruit and vegetables and our Australian summer is a season for some of the best produce – so take advantage of it! 

As we age, nutrition is an often neglected but vital aspect of good health and well-being.

Cooking a good, healthy meal with fresh produce and lean protein can help you stave off malnutrition and also gives you a reason to whip up a fun recipe.

Alternatively, if you just want to put your creative chef hat on, making a sweet treat such as a cake or brownies can be both a fun and delicious way to spend an afternoon.

Cooking can be a therapeutic activity that can give you a sense of purpose and a creative outlet. Even if you chop up some fruit for a fruit salad or grill some veggies on the stove – feeding yourself nutritious foods is a must.

While we’re talking about the kitchen, make sure you drink plenty of water if you are using the oven or stove, as these appliances can often heat up the room.

Your risk of dehydrating is much higher when you are hot, so keep sipping on water and treat yourself to an ice block here and there!

How do you have fun and stay cool in summer? Let us know in the comments below. 

Related content:

Slip, slop, slap: Staying sun safe as an older person
Staying safe during long heatwaves
Preparing for hot Australian weather


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