Due to the ever-changing pandemic scene in 2020, Florida seniors and family caregivers have often been left with broken schedules and limited outdoor recreation. Moreover, the lack of outdoor activities and increased senior isolation have weighed heavily on older adults, especially those who live alone.
As families enter the new year, some do so with the desire and hope of venturing out to take part in much-needed healthy and stimulating outdoor activities, while heeding the continual stream of CDC guidelines, vaccine announcements, and updates.
Family members can assist and encourage older adults (and family caregivers) to plan, schedule, and take part in outdoor leisure activities. Luckily, Central Floridians do not have to travel too far to participate in these activities and there is a large variety on offer. From planning weekly walks on scenic Florida trails or scheduling boat tours on local waterways to visiting Florida U-Pick farms to pick seasonal fruits, there are many examples of low-stress activities that can help kickstart a more relaxing year for all!
Family caregivers can add a monthly boat tour to a senior loved one’s activity schedule. This is not only for boating and water enthusiasts, as anyone can enjoy touring the lakes and waterways in the area.
· Scenic Boat Tour (Winter Park, Florida)
This company was established in 1938 and offers relaxing boat tours on the Winter Park Chain of Lakes. Tours are available for individuals or groups. Facemasks are required, and boats are disinfected after every tour. For detailed information, please visit https://www.scenicboattours.com/ or call (407) 644-4056.
· Butler Chain Lake Tours (Windermere, Florida)
Local boat tours and charters are offered, where you can enjoy a relaxing outdoor boat adventure on the Butler Chain of Lakes. Tours must be booked in advance by calling (407) 766-7221. To learn about boat tours, prices, and current COVID safety information, please visit https://butlerchainlaketours.com/ or call the number listed above.
By visiting local Florida U-Pick Farms, senior loved ones and caregivers can hand-pick their favorite seasonal fruits, which is a healthy, stimulating, and unique outdoor activity. Visitors are only required to pay for the fruits or vegetables they pick.
Visiting a farm or local orchard provides visitors with the opportunity to create new memories while engaging in a healthy, stress-free outdoor activity. Walking through groves picking favorite fruits, breathing in the fresh air, and getting some much-needed sun can do wonders for older adults and family caregivers.
When preparing to visit one of these activities, please make sure to dress appropriately for the outdoors, wear closed-toe shoes, take a hat, and bring a facemask with you. Many businesses are requiring that facemasks be worn when entering farm offices or enclosed buildings. Always check websites and social media pages for safety updates, requirements, and current information regarding seasonal crops.
· Beck Brothers Blueberries (Windermere, Florida)
Plan for the opportunity of visiting this urban farm to hand-pick seasonal blueberries in the spring of 2021! For updated information regarding available visiting days, opening hours, or fruit availability, visit their Facebook page. For other details, please visit https://olives-n-okra.com/beck-brothers-blueberries.
Would you like to hand-pick seasonal berries or Florida-grown citrus fruits? The schedule a visit to Bekemeyer Family Farm in Winter Garden! Please remember to check their Facebook page for their opening hours and updates regarding the availability of seasonal produce. Bekemeyer Family Farm provides hand sanitizer and disposable gloves for visitors who wish to hand-pick seasonal fruits.
· Southern Hill Farms (Clermont, Florida)
Although this well-known Central Florida farm is in neighboring Lake County (approx. 14.6 miles from Windermere in Orange County), it is well worth a drive during winter harvest. To learn about current events at Southern Hill Farms, please visit their website at https://southernhillfarms.com/events/. Please note: Face masks are required at all Southern Hill Farms events.
For more information and lists of other Florida U-Pick Farms, please visit the Florida Department of Agriculture’s U-Pick Farms webpage at https://www.fdacs.gov/Consumer-Resources/Recreation-and-Leisure/U-Pick-Farms#/.
Central Florida has so much to offer its seniors and caregivers. Please encourage loved ones to go out and enjoy the health benefits provided by participating in outdoor leisure activities.
Should you need assistance in caring for senior loved ones or would like to make sure they participate in healthy outdoor activities in the weeks ahead, contact Senior Helpers Orlando.
Senior Helpers Orlando provides in-home health care services for older adults residing in Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties. Our services include companion care, assistance for seniors who need daily support, specialized care for individuals with Alzheimer's, and respite care services. To learn more about our full list of services, please call us at (407) 628-4357.
We thank you for the opportunity and wish everyone a healthy and safe year!
Ana P DeLane
Senior Helpers Orlando Team Member