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How to Help Seniors Get the Most Out of Day Trips

January 8, 2020

Taking seniors on a day trip is not just a walk in the park — though goodness knows, that’s far from a bad thing. There is much more to it than that. Much more in the way of challenges, and much more in the way of benefits.

For healthcare professionals who work with seniors, there are logistical concerns, like ensuring the comfort and safety of those in their care. Extra time must be built into the schedule, enabling seniors to get from one place to another. Steps must be taken to ensure they are dressed appropriately for the weather that particular day.

That said, the good far outweighs the bad, as we at The Allure Group have been reminded on recent excursions to places like the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens or the Prospect Park Zoo. Here are some of the benefits:

Overall Health

The exercise that results from being out and about has been shown to improve seniors’ strength and balance. The latter is of particular importance, given that falls are such a danger to those age 65 and over; one in four suffers such a fate each year, leading to 2.8 million injuries that require emergency-room attention, 800,000 hospitalizations and over 27,000 deaths.

Moreover, those who exercise are more energetic and less apt to suffer from heart disease, diabetes or osteoporosis.

Finally, there is the benefit of being outside, and being exposed to Vitamin D, which comes from sunlight. Seniors are typically lacking in that vitamin, which can lead to muscle pain, inflammation and diabetes.

Mental Health

Being outdoors also improves mood and reduces stress. The latter requires closer examination, as it has been found that the stress hormone, cortisol, can damage brain cells. While those cells are capable of being repaired when stress is alleviated, that process takes longer in the elderly, the bottom line being that stress, when unaddressed, is more likely to lead to memory-related disorders like Alzheimer’s.

Day trips can also positively impact those already suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia, as such junkets can lead to reminiscence. And that is something that taps into the strengths of the afflicted, giving them feelings of proficiency and self-assurance.

There is also the belief that breaking from one’s normal routine improves memory and concentration, though that seems to apply more to those under the age of 65. Seniors, by contrast, take great comfort in their routines. It lessens their stress level and helps them sleep.


Day trips offer a chance to mingle with others, the benefits of which cannot be overstated. Loneliness — something more than 40 percent of seniors experience, despite the fact that 28 percent of them live alone — results in such negative outcomes as lethargy, too little/too much sleep, changes in weight/appetite, greater use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs and a neglect of personal hygiene.

In addition, those who feel isolated or lonely are more apt to incur heart disease, depression and Alzheimer’s. Nor is their life expectancy as great as those who regularly socialize with others.

The bottom line is that while day trips have their challenges for healthcare professionals, the upside is far greater.

Categories: General