Bring a Little Fun to Caregiving Relationships This Spring

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It’s. Finally. Happening. Spring has come to Manitoba, summer is around the corner, and seniors have a lot to be optimistic about. With mandates lifted and the pandemic receding, there are a whole host of ways for seniors and caregivers to strengthen relationships by making the most of the season together. If warmer temperatures and clearer skies weren’t motivation enough, the science itself makes a great case for it. Even before the pandemic began, seniors here and right across Canada were disproportionately lonely. Two years later, there’s an even greater need for seniors and caregivers to get back out there and safely explore the world as a team. Older adults live longer, healthier lives by staying socially connected. In fact, friendship has been shown to boost happiness, reduce stress and encourage healthier lifestyle habits. The right caregiving relationship can help unlock all those benefits, and more. So, what are you waiting for? Embrace spring as a new chance to nurture caregiving relationships with the seniors in your life. This month, Home Care Assistance Winnipeg is offering a quick list of idea starters to help seniors and the caregivers who support them enjoy one another’s company, and the best of the season:
    1. Ground relationships in a senior’s interests and hobbies. From fly fishing to gardening, chances are the senior in your life has a long history of hobbies and passions. Translating those interests into mobility-appropriate and safe activities for this stage of life can be a great way for caregivers to bond with seniors, spark memories and build new ones. For example, a senior who has always loved art might love a gentle stroll through the latest exhibits at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. The city is flush with opportunities to reconnect through activities and events. Chose something that makes sense for their physical mobility and cognitive ability, and then dive in.
    2. Add a little movement to your relationship. We know that the right amount of physical activity can be a benefit for seniors of any age. Walking in particular is easy, accessible, and adaptable to individual mobility levels. Right across Winnipeg, parks are open and ready to welcome seniors and their caregivers. Assess the right path or trail based on your loved one’s individual needs, and explore nature while flexing those muscles as a duo.
    3. Make furry friends together. Researchers have been looking into the ways that animals can positively impact healthy human aging for years. Owning a dog has even been linked to better mental health, and fewer feelings of social isolation (both are risk factors for heart attacks). Whether you spend a few hours exploring Assiniboine Park’s Toucan Ridge, or actually commit to bringing a new pet home: spring provides endless ways to interact with the animal world. Even pulling a few chairs out into the yard to catch a glimpse of the birds or catch spring peepers’ song can be a nice way to connect, while relishing in the upside of nature’s offerings.
    4. Create meaningful conversations throughout your day. Most people love a good chat. For seniors (especially those who feel the increased isolation that can come with hearing loss), meaningful conversations can often be too few, and even farther between. Tapping into little spring cleaning chores (dusting off the patio furniture, picking out some annuals for the front garden) can be a great way to connect while keeping the conversation flowing, and the engagement high. Embrace daily to-do’s as a way to chat about what you’re doing, and make the senior you’re caring for feel part of the process.
What’s the key takeaway? The best caregiving relationships blend solid care with real joy. Blend both this spring and deepen caregiving relationships as you reconnect through everything the season has to offer.

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