Even if there is no snow, winter activities can make a senior living environment merry and bright, all season long. California is the subject of numerous songs, most extolling the virtues of living here. For instance, It Never Rains In Southern California lets you know the weather is typically sunny and beautiful, which is why The Kensington Redondo Beach is located just steps from the beach, so residents can enjoy the ideal climate year-round.
But it also means that, barring a freak weather event, it never snows in southern California, either. Yet all these songs about winter wonderland assume snow. You know: “Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? In the lane, snow is glistening. A beautiful sight, we’re happy tonight, walking in a winter wonderland.” Or the winter classic, Jingle Bells: “Dashing through the snow, in a one-horse open sleigh…”
Here are 10 ways to create a winter wonderland for your loved one without building a snowman or going for sleigh rides:
- Ice skating. Southern California seniors are some of the fittest seniors in America, because all that glorious sunshine and the comfortable temperatures beckon people out of doors to walk on the beach, play tennis and golf, and even do yoga outside. And someone in good physical condition can learn to ice skate at any age.
It may surprise your to learn that ice skating burns more calories than dancing or low-impact aerobics, and as many calories as using a stationary bicycle, swimming, and even hiking. Plus, it’s so much fun, and a superb way to work a senior’s entire body. There are a number of ice-skating rinks located near Redondo Beach.
- Leaf angels. Anybody can build a snowperson. But how many of us can create a nature-based person, like a scarecrow, out of the materials found in your own backyard? This could be a great activity for when the grandchildren visit your loved one. Challenge them to see how they can create a “person” from pine needles, pinecones, leaves, twigs, and whatever other natural materials can be found outside. You can even contribute a carrot nose, button eyes and similar touches as people do when crafting snowmen, so the children feel that what they build is authentic. Be sure to take digital photos to impress your loved one’s friends!
- Winter festivals. The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation is hosting its first-ever Parks After Dark winter season in 2019, running through January 5, 2020, at 33 county parks, with free programs and holiday-themed events planned for children and families. PAD programming ranges from snow days to sports, movies and dancing, among other activities. How cool is this? Don’t let the kids have all the fun!
- Light up the Night! Enchanted Forest of Light is an interactive nighttime experience unlike anything else in the Los Angeles area, featuring amile-long walk through unique lighting experiences in some of the most beloved areas of Descanso Gardens. There are a variety of large-scale light displays, many of which allow visitors to manipulate the lights and sounds.
- Lunar New Year. Sure, everybody celebrates New Year’s Eve. Lunar new year, however, may be new to you. Lunar New Year is the most celebrated holiday in Asia, with many large festivals and events held around the world. The San Gabriel Lunar New Year Festival combines tradition with modern celebrations, resulting in a unique festival that is enjoyable for all. The festival will consist of a Street Food Fair, Marketplace, Chalk Art Contest, and Kids’ Zone.
- Marshmallow roast. In many parts of the country it will be much too cold to sit outside and toast marshmallows around a fire in winter. That’s the beauty of southern California: if you and your loved one want to enjoy a marshmallow roast on the beach in January, odds are the night will be balmy enough to permit it. This is another activity sure to engage the grandchildren’s interest as well as that of their friends, so make sure to bring several big bags of marshmallows. Demonstrate how to peel the bark of a stick before placing the marshmallows on it, and how to then toast them to perfection.
- Hot chocolate story time. If an outdoor marshmallow roast is a bit ambitious, bring the event indoors, and place the marshmallows in hot chocolate. This is a wonderful opportunity to share family stories that may become folklore later on. The tales of what grandma or grandpa had to “endure” as a child may not be as extreme as this hilarious Monty Python skit of one-upmanship, but they’ll be sure to delight the kids.
- Indoor Fort. Almost every child loves to build forts, secret hiding places for their chosen friends to share. Turn part of your loved one’s senior living space into a hideout for grandchildren for the day. Chairs and blankets can make it cozy and private, and you can lure the kids out later for that hot chocolate and stories. The children’s pals are likely to whisper among themselves, “Gee, I wish my grandma was this much fun!”
- High tea. Then again, perhaps elegance is the byword among your friends and family. Why not host a high tea party, with fancy little sandwiches and petit fours? Or, if you love to bake, substitute brownies or other confections for more traditional high tea fare. Your senior loved one will love this!
- Video biography. Are you digitally adept? Or maybe your teenage son or family friend is the one with a device grafted to his hand. How about beginning a video biography? Ask your loved one to start with a fun memory and simply share what they remember. Maybe you’ll decide to add to it weekly, or monthly. This is a lovely legacy to create for your family — and you’ll no doubt enjoy reminiscing and being able to watch what you record as well.
At The Kensington Redondo Beach, we keep our residents as busy as they choose to be, no matter the weather. Come visit us soon, and discover how your loved one can thrive here.