Ah, summertime. For many of us it means more time outdoors with activities like picnics, ball games, and water time fun. We may think of “caring for others” as a holiday tradition, such during the Christmas season. But I think that any time of the year is a good time to care for others. So here is my list of caregiving ideas for the summer months. Pick one or two and see just how wonderful it feels to care for others.
The best thing about taking on a caregiving task with your family is that there is a “layering” effect: you are spending time together as a family, caring for others and role-modeling positive parenting all at the same time. That’s a three-for-the-price-of-one deal!
Help your kids fight childhood hunger. During the summer months, children with food insufficiency lose access to their school lunch. Set up a lemonade stand, bake cookies for a bake sale, or grill hotdogs for the neighbors. Donate the proceeds to your local food pantry, or No Kid Hungry.
Plant a tree or shrub in someone’s honor. Help your family remember a loved one by planting a tree that will live on and remind you of a loved one who has passed on.
Create summer care kits for the homeless. Assemble items that would be especially useful in the summer, like lip balm, roll-on sunscreen, bug spray, or a lightweight hat.
For people living in more temperate environments, summer means living in the gorgeous outdoors! In the summer months, any outdoor activity can be turned into an opportunity to care for others. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Do outdoor work for someone. Do you know someone who is unable to do their own yard work? Mow their lawn or sweep their sidewalk. Find out when their weekly trash pick-up is and offer to stop by and put the trash container out each week.
Organize a picnic—and invite a friend. There’s something so relaxing about dining outdoors. Throw a few things into a basket (any container will do, no need to be fancy) and invite someone to join you.
Go for a stroll. Even something as simple as a leisurely stroll can show that you care. If the person isn’t able to walk very far you can still enjoy outside time. Sit on a bench in the shade and ask, “How are you today?”
Depending on one’s climate, summertime means very hot (and possibly humid) conditions that make it difficult to get outside. If you live in this type of climate, consider that some people will be more likely to stay indoors and perhaps become lonely during the summer months. Here’s how you can help.
Leave a simple “thinking of you” note. Sometimes, you don’t even have to organize an outing to show you care. Bake cookies for someone who is going through a rough time. Leave them on the porch with a note that says, “Just because . . .”
Bring the party inside. Board games and puzzles are timeless diversions that most people enjoy. Call up a friend and offer to stop by to play one of their favorite games. Working a jigsaw puzzle helps us slow down and enjoy another person’s company in a way few other things these days do.
Take in a movie. For those who are on a tight budget, going to a movie in a theater would be a real treat. (And, it’s air-conditioned!) Check your local movie theaters, which often have special reduced-price admissions during the summer months.
Caregiving knows no season. I hope you will consider taking me up on a few of these ways to Care Well during the summer months. Drop me a line in the comments section and tell me your caregiving ideas with a summer twist.