Camping for Seniors: How-To & Gears

Rilor Staff
Update: June 9, 2022

Camping can be a great way to relax, enjoy nature and get away from it all. There are a lot of things that you can do, such as fishing, cooking, and playing games. Even sleeping and dawdling around are desirable activities that you can always do. 

However, many people think that camping is only an activity for young people. There's a perception that the outdoors is meant for those who have strong bones and sharp minds. But the thing is, camping is for everyone. Even older adults are encouraged to leave their homes and savor the fresh air that isn't present in cities.

Of course, there are special considerations for senior campers. Before you invite your grandparents to a weekend camping trip, you have to know the basics so that they can camp comfortably and safely. 

Why Should Seniors Consider Camping?

Don't discourage your seniors if they want to camp. If they can still move and walk decently, then the outdoors can still become their haven. In fact, camping should be a part of their regimen, considering that it has a plethora of benefits. 

Here are some of the reasons why older adults should consider camping. 

It Gives Them The Exercise Their Bodies Need

Many young people today aren't exercising their bodies. And if the young ones can't indulge themselves in physical activities, then it is likely that older people have it worse. 

Now, it is understandable that seniors can't exercise because of the state of their bodies. They are growing fragile day by day. Furthermore, underlying conditions could aggravate their problems. However, keep in mind that light exercise is needed for seniors, as it helps them to strengthen their bodies, burn fats, and stretch idle muscles.

Instead of sitting all day long, going fishing, walking, or hiking could give seniors the boost that their body requires. These activities prevent them from succumbing to the rust. 

The Outdoors Are Rich In Sunlight And Fresh Air

Camping is one of the best outdoor activities there is. There's no denying it. One of the reasons for this is due to the natural wonders around you. Even a simple campsite could give you unlimited views of trees, landscapes, and rivers. 

At the same time, the outdoors is pretty much abundant with fresh air and sunlight. These are the very elements that seniors need. 

Fresh air is important for senior citizens, but how can it help them? The benefits are many. For instance, fresh air reduces the risk of developing respiratory illnesses. Seniors can also derive physical and psychological benefits from spending time in nature to breathe air. Research suggests that exposure to fresh, clean air can improve one's mood and help one cope with feelings of loneliness.

Meanwhile, sunlight is good for seniors. It boosts Vitamin D, which fights infections and strengthens bones. Seniors who get sunlight regularly have fewer colds and are less susceptible to other forms of infection. It also produces serotonin, which enhances mood and boosts energy.

The Outdoors Are The Perfect Place To Build Connections

Some seniors are hesitant about camping, but it provides many benefits. Camping isn't only fun, but it also can be a great way to meet new, like-minded people. Seniors who spend time outdoors develop deeper bonds with other campers, and this can result in stronger social connections.

Of course, these benefits are important. As people grow older, the number of people they get in contact with decreases. Even their immediate family members aren't always there to attend to their needs. After all, they have their own lives, too. Because of these predicaments, seniors often feel isolated and ignored.

Camping and outdoor activities help ease their loneliness in them. These endeavors rejuvenate their minds and spirits. Furthermore, there's always an opportunity to meet new people at the campsite. That gives them the chance to connect with others and build long-lasting friendships. 

Camping Helps Them Sleep Better

Sleep is essential for a healthy mind and body. A poor night's sleep can be detrimental to seniors, resulting in problems with memory, mood, and concentration. Fortunately, staying healthy and comfortable at night is possible for seniors.

One effective method of doing so is through camping. After a day of having fun at the campsite, it is evident that your body will get exhausted. This exhaustion is quite needed for seniors to be able to sleep better. 

You see, older adults are prone to sleeping problems. The cause of these sleeping complications varies--from the natural changes in their body up to the illnesses that could trigger sleep deprivation. Fortunately, outdoor activities can promote better and more regulated sleep cycles. In fact, many seniors reported that they could doze off soundly after their outdoor trip. 

What Are The Potential Hazards They Could Encounter?

While there are great benefits that seniors can attain through camping, one should not ignore the potential hazards that they can encounter. 

Keep in mind that older adults are more prone to complications than young campers. Aside from their fragile body and deteriorating health, their attention span and reactiveness are also low. These things make them susceptible to the following problems:

Heat Exhaustion

As we have mentioned, the sun is good for seniors. But at the same time, too much of it can be harmful. Older adults are volatile to the damages caused by the sun. If the environment is too hot, then they might suffer from heat exhaustion, which is often characterized by headaches, weakness, nausea, and vomiting. 

It is important that they limit their time basking under the sun. Wearing light-colored, moisture-wicking clothing is a must, as well. Of course, accessories such as sunglasses and hats can block some of the harmful sunlight rays. Moreover, don't forget to remind them to drink water. 

You need to get immediate help if your seniors are feeling lethargic and confused. Seizures, skin dryness, and fever are tell-tale signs that heat stroke could take place.

Injuries

The bodies of seniors aren't as strong and sturdy as they used to be when they were still young. That's one of the most painful aspects of growing old, and we will all experience that. 

Seniors are prone to injuries while camping. For instance, they can trip over while they are walking or exploring your campsite. This could cause serious fractures and wounds. Furthermore, it is likely that they'll also suffer from burns if you leave them near the campfire unsupervised. 

Always accompany your seniors and pay attention to their movements from time to time. Also, remind them not to go to areas that are too steep, rocky, or slippery. Prevent them from going away from your campsite, as there's also a possibility that they will get lost as well. This is also a showing that first-aid kits are essential for every camping trip. 

Food Poisoning

Food poisoning happens when you ingest food that has been contaminated with harmful bacteria or viruses. Food poisoning can be mild, or it can be severe enough to require hospitalization. The symptoms of food poisoning can range from mild to severe and can last for a few days. 

In general, people who are older, chronically ill, pregnant, or who have weakened immune systems are at increased risk for severe food poisoning symptoms. Surely, this calls for correct food storage and preparation. 

Don't let your seniors eat food that they found at the campsite. Even edible fruits might not be safe for them since you'll never know how clean they are. They may contain pathogens like bacteria that could cause food poisoning. 

Also, proper food preparation is a must. Make sure that you bring a cooler where you can store perishable ingredients, such as raw meat. Wash your hands before and after you prepare food. 

Wildlife

The outdoors isn't our natural haven. It is the sanctuary of animals and different forms of wildlife. Once you are at a campsite, it is better that you don't bother them, even if they are near you. Always remember that we shouldn't violate Mother Nature. 

Unfortunately, some of these animals and insects pose a danger to us. Even if you aren't in a bear country, there are still other threats that you should watch out for. If you have a senior with you, make sure that you protect them from these potential dangers.

Among the creatures that your seniors should watch out for are snakes and spiders. You see, they are more likely to sneak up on you when camping than at home. Snakes and spiders are nocturnal and tend to come out at night to get food, so you may not see them during the day. Snakes and spiders usually try to blend in with their surroundings, so older adults may not be able to see them until it is too late.

Again, this requires you to limit where your seniors explore. Prevent them from going in bushy areas, as these creatures might be hiding there. The good thing is that most animals in the wild aren't aggressive unless you step on their territory. 

What Are The Necessary Preparations Seniors Should Do?

Preparation is an essential aspect of camping, whether you are tagging along with older persons or not. If you fail to plan, it is likely that your adventure will turn into a mess. 

Camping with seniors would require extensive planning and preparation. In this way, you can cover their needs, guarantee their safety, and make them satisfied throughout the trip. Here are some ways you can do this. 

Exercise

Light exercises such as walking around the neighborhood, climbing a flight of stairs, and riding a bicycle are excellent ways to prevent your seniors from sustaining injuries while you are away from home. A little training isn't bad, especially if they haven't engaged in physical activities for quite some time. 

Even if you are just heading to an established campsite, seniors should ensure that their bodies are in good shape. Of course, we are not saying that they should be buff and strong. Just being in good condition is already enough. These exercises can prevent physical injuries, such as straining their muscles or breaking a bone. 

Make A List Of Their Needs

Try to cover as much stuff as possible. Aside from the tents, clothing, and cooking amenities, you should also include the items that your seniors might require. For instance, they might drink a particular medication regularly. Hence, that should be part of the list. 

Also, ensure that your checklist can cover the duration of your trip. If it is overnight camping, then you can pack less. However, if it is an extended trip, you might need to pack extra luggage.

Consider bringing the following for your seniors:

  • Medications (and copies of their prescription)
  • First aid kit 
  • Required food and dietary nourishment
  • Insect repellant, sunglasses, and sunscreen
  • Phone chargers and mobile phones
  • Sufficient, potable water supply
  • Flashlights, lamps, and other sources of illumination

Choose The Ideal Campground

Here are some of the essential considerations in picking the ideal campsite for your seniors. 

  • The campground you pick should ensure a safe, relaxing vacation for your loved ones. The campgrounds should be well kept and properly staffed to deal with any emergencies, including power outages and fires.
  • Furthermore, the campground should be convenient. Seniors are more likely than most to have physical limitations, so a campground accessible only via a long hike or hours in the car may not be the best option.
  • It should offer plenty of activities to keep the seniors happy during their stay. This could include organized activities, such as bingo or card games, or it may simply be available in quiet areas with beautiful scenery.
  • The campground should offer plenty of food. Seniors often need to eat frequently, so a campground serving meals throughout the day will be most helpful.

Check The Weather

Checking the weather before camping is essential. That's because atmospheric conditions could change quickly. It can get very hot during the day or very cold at night. And with the climate change issue, predictability is among the things that you shouldn't expect. 

Being mindful of the weather forecast is a must. This one tells you the probability of a rainy day at the campsite. As much as possible, you would want to go on an adventure on a sunny day with fine weather. In this way, your seniors would enjoy the trip better. Things could get uncomfortable and disconcerting if it starts raining heavily. 

Learning the weather could also help you choose the best outfit. If there's a chance of rain, you will be able to pack the appropriate rain gear for you and your seniors. 

Prepare For The Evening

Seniors should sleep comfortably at night, even if they are away from their homes. The key here is to make things as comfortable as possible. And you can achieve such through the following:

  • Bring a sleeping pad, air mattresses, or sleeping cots. These things can serve as excellent sleeping platforms for your seniors. After all, they offer a degree of cushion and insulation. 
  • Consider bringing a sleeping bag, especially if you think that the temperature might drop. If your seniors are susceptible to chills, then sleeping bags with a high insulation rating can help. 
  • You may also include pillows, blankets, and sheets in your checklist. These accessories can help your seniors sleep better at the campsite. 

Is Camping Still Safe For Seniors?

With the correct and appropriate preparations, camping is still a safe activity for seniors. It is an endeavor that they should engage themselves regularly, as it has a plethora of benefits to their mind and body. 

Of course, this is something that you should do with caution. For instance, if the attending physician of the senior says that the activity could jeopardize their health, then it is better that you don't force the issue anymore. The welfare of the seniors should still be the priority here. 

However, if there's a clearance, then you can pursue the endeavor. Just make sure that you follow the guidelines we listed here so that the trip will go as smoothly as possible. 

Other readings you may enjoy
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram