The best activities for older adults this spring
14th March 2018
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.
Though the UK may have received more than its fair share of snow in the last month, the weatherman promises spring is on its way and that leaves many people looking forward to the better weather. With the hope of warmer temperatures and a little sun, many people are looking for activities that get them in the mood for the season and the outdoors.
Though the better weather removes some of the hazards that winter presents to those with limited mobility, there can still be some obstacles. From a small number of blue badge parking spaces to a lack of disabled bathrooms, though many attractions have ensured they are accessible to all. So what activities should people be doing this spring?
See the animals
Spring is the season of new life, fresh shoots and positivity and nowhere is this more apparent than watching cute fluffy animals gambol about. Head to your local petting zoo and see the lambs and chicks – the official signs of spring.
Banham Zoo may be the home to lots of exotic animals, but that doesn’t mean it leaves out those that are more recognisable. Head to the Farm Barn to pet pygmy goats, donkeys and see if you can spot the Easter bunny. Banham Zoo is really accessible with miles of paths surfaced in tarmac or crushed stone. The zoo also offers disabled parking, wheelchair and mobility scooter hire and independent disabled toilet facilities.
Enjoy an outdoor museum
For those looking for a blast from the past, the North East’s open-air museum Beamish perfectly encapsulates the lives of ordinary people in a series of time periods. The 1900’s town offers a glimpse into pre-war Britain. Taste authentic Edwardian recipes at Herron’s Bakers or peruse the collection of motorcycles in the garage. A pit village from the same era would have been a common sight in the North East of England due to its reliance on the mining industry. At Beamish Museum, one has been faithfully restored complete with school, stables and a Fried Fish shop.
The 1940’s Farm captures a country in the grips of World War II complete with a family of evacuees, rationed cooking and wireless updates. As the Outdoor museum makes use of historic buildings, not all areas are accessible, however, there is disabled bathrooms and parking, wheelchairs and mobility scooters for hire and wherever possible, adaptations to accessibility have been made.
Find spring bulbs
A touch of fresh air, the heady scent of cut grass and the bright pops of colour from the first bulbs do much to get people in the mood for spring. Whether someone is looking for inspiration for their own garden for summer, or just wants to enjoy some time in a beautiful environment, getting out in a local garden is a great way to enjoy the improved weather.
Ness Botanic Gardens are part of the University of Liverpool and offer a pleasant outing for the budding botanist or flower novice alike. The carefully curated collection of plants at Ness Botanic Gardens ensure there is interest all year round, but in the spring with the magnolias in bloom, it is truly stunning.
The Botanic gardens have accessible parking and wheelchairs to pre-book. They also welcome assistance dogs and also have accessible toilet facilities on site.
For a quintessentially British experience, take a leisurely trip down some of England’s most picturesque canals and see the signs of spring from the water. Beautifully traditional canal boats are not just visually appealing but also offer a smooth ride for guests who are either able-bodied or struggle with limited mobility. Whether people wish to spend a couple of hours spotting signs of stirring wildlife on the banks or enjoying the wild blossom in the hedgerows or simply relaxing in the (fingers crossed) sun, this is a wonderful introduction to spring in the British countryside.
Accessible Boating offers specifically adapted canal boat experiences in Hampshire with their two boats, Dawn and Madame Butterfly. The Accessible Boating Association was inspired by two canal enthusiasts who understood the problems the elderly and disabled faced when it came to making canal boats accessible and sharing their love of Britain’s waterways.
These boats are perfect for group hire and a four hour trip on the boat Dawn allows for a gentle cruise along rural stretches of the Basingstoke Canal before a picnic lunch and a casual return to Odiham.
Take the grandchildren on an Easter egg hunt
The best way to feel inspired by the season is often to see children caught up in the magic. The combination of the Easter bunny, chocolate and secret hiding places, makes an Easter egg hunt a guaranteed winner in any child’s eyes.
Many venues around the UK organise events for all the family to enjoy with either a specific Easter egg hunt or a treasure trail with clues and puzzles. Joining the family and accompanying them on one of these events is a great way to get outside and enjoy the spring sunshine.
The Big Sheep in Devon is an all-weather family attraction that is not only home to a petting farm, but also to an organised Easter egg hunt. Though the hunt is only open to children aged 7 and under, the venue has a lot to offer with an Indoor Animal Barn, Lamb Feeding and Sheep Dog Trials and Training.
The Big Sheep is easily accessible for wheelchairs and offers a number of disabled parking spaces. There are wheelchairs available to book in advance, disabled toilets throughout the park and restaurants that are designed to accommodate wheelchair users. The Barn Café and Country Life Brewery Shop are both fully accessible as are many other areas of the park.