Autumn Fun for Seniors
Fall provides a great opportunity for seniors to take advantage of the cooler temperatures to enjoy the last outdoor activities before ol’ Jack Frost appears. Hayrides with family and friends, walking through crisp, colorful fall leaves, snuggling up in front of a fire pit with blankets, sipping warm apple cider, being mesmerized by a rising full harvest moon are just a few of the fun traditions that earmark the autumn season.
Retired seniors are fortunate to have the time to enjoy this wonderful time of year in myriad ways. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Night Garden Party
Start by stringing outdoor lights or set lanterns across a deck, garage entrance, throughout a tree, or on a fence. Choose a more traditional method of lighting by putting some sandbox sand or pebbles in small mason jars and setting tea candles in the bottom (real or battery-operated). Or select one of the many battery-operated or electrical varieties of strung lights available at home decor and craft stores.
Invite friends and family over, and set the tone with background music for a night of dancing or simply relaxing. Provide food and beverages with a fall theme, such as mulled wine or cider, caramel apples, pumpkin spice muffins, and grilled, skewered chicken and fall veggies.
This activity is a great idea if there are kids at your gathering. Seniors can pair up with a child or in groups of mixed ages to help each other find treasures or look for clues. A scavenger hunt can be as simple as a tromp around the house and yard to find treasures that the host has hidden, or try a modern twist that sends teams on a journey around the community.
In this version, small teams are given a pre-set list of items to collect or places where, once found, they have to take a selfie or video with their smartphones. Each team has a set amount of time in which to complete all tasks. Each task earns different points – easiest earn fewer points, hardest earn more. Each team must send the party host photos of themselves doing the tasks or standing at the specified locations. They must then return to the party location by a specified time. Whichever team earned the highest number of points wins! Look no further than Pinterest to find your favorite scavenger hunt theme.
Put together several autumn-themed games and activities and turn it into a carnival for a large number of people. This could even be a fundraiser for a beloved charity or to help a local family in need. You can include apple bobbing, fishing for prizes, races, and other fun themed games.
And no fall carnival would be complete without true harvest food. Baked apples with oatmeal streusel topping is an easy recipe to “bake and take.” Another yummy treat for even the smallest of carnival-goers is this glazed pumpkin sugar cookie. If you live at a senior living community, check with the community staff and see if they already have something like this scheduled for residents!
Pick a Pumpkin… or Two, or Three
Autumn outings would not be complete without a trip to a pumpkin patch. To find a pumpkin farm near you, just do a simple Internet search and dozens will surely pop up within a reasonable driving distance. Nowadays most pumpkin farms offer a slew of kid-to-senior friendly activities from antique tractor shows and pulls, to corn mazes, petting zoos, pony rides, food, haunted houses, and even markets selling fall jams, butters, breads, and more.
There are many varieties of pumpkins to choose from, and most farms offer all size, shapes and colors of pumpkins and gourds. Many pick-your-own patches also have kid-friendly sizes already picked and set on the ground so kids can pick up and carry their own.
Pumpkin Patch is a great website for learning all about pumpkins, from growing them, picking them and creating your own pumpkin recipes to pumpkin jokes and unusual pumpkin facts. And of course, once you have the pumpkins, it’s time to decorate them! The Pumpkin Lady website has over 700 free pumpkin carving patterns you can print, pin on your pumpkin and carve.
If you are looking for some leisurely outdoor fun, hayrides are an autumn tradition that never goes out of style. Seniors and little tykes alike get the opportunity to sit back on a trailer of straw bales and relax while enjoying the fall colors and fresh air. Many farms offer hayrides either around their farm or through a rural community. Some hayrides may even include a musician playing sing-a-long songs on a banjo or guitar, or if it’s an evening ride, it could include a few ghost stories or a ride through a “haunted forest.”
Hayrides offer a wonderful way to get outside, and have a good time with family and friends. Many senior living communities schedule hayrides as a regular fall activity, so check with your local community or go online and search hayrides in your area.
Fall Craft and Decor
And let’s not forget fall decor! If you are an active senior who is always changing up your home decor with the season or looking for the next craft or activity, try your hand at homemade decor like this fall leaf garland. These simple ribboned pumpkins will take you through Halloween and into Thanksgiving as an eye-catching addition to your front porch or dining table.
For many more harvest decorating ideas, take a peek at Good Housekeeping’s Fall Decor Ideas board on Pinterest. Whether you are an expert at crafting and decorating, or are ready to try something new, there is something for everyone.
At our community, seniors can age in place with caring, professional staff, numerous amenities and activities, and assistance every step of the way. Contact us for more information concerning our services and amenities, and have a happy and safe Halloween!