Earth Day will be celebrated on Friday, April 22nd around the world- as it has been since it was founded on April 22, 1970 by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson. This year, involve the seniors in your life by planning special Earth friendly projects. As a caregiver, you probably struggle to come up with new and exciting activities, so why not take advantage of Earth Day?
Perhaps you’ve already observed that many seniors are frugal since they’ve lived through the Great Depression and learned to make do with very little. You may hear stories about growing large gardens to pick and preserve food, making diapers and underwear out of flower and sugar sacks, and using newspaper instead of toilet paper. Surprisingly, being “Green” may not be foreign to our seniors. Participating in Earth Day activities can bring back childhood memories for your senior.
Use some of these ideas to promote Earth Day with your senior. You might be surprised to find that they might contribute with some ideas that you haven’t even thought of.
Paper Mache Vases- This activity reuses two common items that go into the landfill every day- plastic bottles and newspaper. Cover plastic drinking bottles with several layers of strips of newspaper dipped in liquid starch (you can also use watered down glue or a flour mixture). Paint the bottles with acrylic paints and a coat of Modge Podge and decorate them with yarn, beads, buttons, glass beads and other materials that you may have lying around. The vases are waterproof so they can be used to display fresh, dried or silk flowers.
Seedling or Cutting Starters- First cut the Plastic Bottle in half. Punch a few drainage holes in the bottom of the bottom half of the bottle then fill with soil and plant cuttings or seeds to create inexpensive mini greenhouses. Use the top half of the bottles as small plant cloches to protect tiny seedlings you have planted in seed beds.
Gardening and Outdoor Activities- Getting outside is an ideal way to help your senior stay active and get fresh air. Consider starting a garden, either in the yard or in pots on the balcony or patio. Involve your senior in the choice of plants and their care. Try spending time walking at the local park. Invest in binoculars or a wildflower guide to learn more about the nature around you.
Compost- It’s easy to collect food scraps and garden waste and turn it into healthy compost in your own yard. Fill a composter or a make a homemade composter with old garden pots. Add kitchen scraps and garden waste on a daily basis and help stir it to get things breaking down. In a few months when you’ve got compost, they can take part in spreading it over the garden and watch “garbage” become rich dark dirt to make a garden grow.
Write a letter- You and your senior can write letters to government leaders and corporations about pollution and other environmental issues. Discuss the issues that impact you and your senior the most. This is also a good way to talk about current events.
These activities are great for Seniors who need extra companionship or for Seniors who have memory impairment. It’s important to participate in activities that help form trust and companionship. With these activities, you’ll form a closer relationship with your senior, all while “Going Green”.
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