Enhancing Quality of Life: Outdoor Activities for Elderly Hospice Patients and Their Families

elderly couple on bike


Spending time outdoors can have numerous physical, emotional, and mental health benefits, even for elderly hospice patients. Engaging in outdoor activities with loved ones can help improve quality of life, foster meaningful connections, and create cherished memories during the end-of-life journey.

In this article, we’ll explore various outdoor activities suitable for elderly hospice patients and their families in Chicago and discuss how LifeChoice Home Hospice can support your loved one during this time. To learn more about LifeChoice’s at-home hospice services, call +1 847-777-8888.

The Benefits of Outdoor Activities for Elderly Hospice Patients

Outdoor activities offer several benefits for elderly hospice patients, such as:

  1. Physical Health: Gentle outdoor activities can help maintain muscle strength, flexibility, and overall physical health.
  2. Mental Health: Exposure to sunlight and nature can help reduce anxiety and depression, while promoting relaxation and mental well-being.
  3. Social Engagement: Participating in outdoor activities with family and friends can foster meaningful connections and create lasting memories.
  4. Stimulation: Engaging with the natural world can provide sensory stimulation and cognitive engagement.

Outdoor Activities for Elderly Hospice Patients and Their Families in Chicago

Here are some enjoyable and accessible outdoor activities that elderly hospice patients and their families can participate in together:

1. Nature Walks

Taking a gentle stroll through a park or nature preserve can provide numerous physical and mental health benefits. Consider visiting one of Chicago’s beautiful parks, such as:

  • Lincoln Park
  • Grant Park
  • Millennium Park
  • Jackson Park

Remember to take into account the patient’s physical limitations and choose a location with level, paved pathways to ensure a comfortable experience.

2. Gardening

Gardening can be a therapeutic and rewarding activity for elderly hospice patients. Whether it’s tending to a small flower bed or cultivating a container garden on a balcony, gardening can provide a sense of accomplishment and purpose.

3. Birdwatching

Birdwatching is a peaceful and engaging activity that can be enjoyed by hospice patients and their families. Chicago offers numerous birdwatching locations, such as:

  • Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary
  • North Pond Nature Sanctuary
  • LaBagh Woods

Bring a pair of binoculars, a bird identification guide, and a comfortable chair to create an enjoyable birdwatching experience.

4. Picnics

A picnic in a nearby park or nature area can be a delightful way to spend quality time with a hospice patient. Pack a basket with their favorite foods, a comfortable blanket, and some cushions for added comfort. Choose a location with accessible restrooms and plenty of shade.

5. Outdoor Art Activities

Engaging in outdoor art activities, such as painting or sketching in a natural setting, can provide cognitive stimulation and promote relaxation. Consider bringing along art supplies and a sketchpad to capture the beauty of a Chicago park or garden.

6. Fishing

Fishing can be a calming and enjoyable activity for elderly hospice patients who have the physical ability and interest. Visit one of Chicago’s many fishing locations, such as:

  • Northerly Island Park
  • Humboldt Park Lagoon
  • Marquette Park Lagoon

Remember to obtain the necessary fishing permits and follow local fishing regulations.

7. Pets and Animal-Assisted Activities

Incorporating pets or animal-assisted activities into the lives of elderly hospice patients can provide numerous emotional, mental, and physical benefits. Interacting with animals can help reduce feelings of loneliness and anxiety, promote relaxation, and even improve cardiovascular health. Here are some ways to involve pets or animals in outdoor activities for elderly hospice patients and their families:

  • Dog Walking: If the hospice patient has a dog or a family member has a well-behaved and gentle pet, going for a slow walk around the neighborhood or a local park can be an enjoyable experience. Keep in mind the patient’s mobility limitations and be sure to use a leash and harness for the dog’s safety.
  • Visiting Local Dog Parks: A visit to a local dog park, such as Montrose Dog Beach or Puptown Dog Park, can be a delightful way for hospice patients to engage with animals and enjoy the outdoors. Choose a location with comfortable seating and accessible facilities.
  • Animal-Assisted Therapy: Animal-assisted therapy is a valuable resource for elderly hospice patients, providing emotional support and companionship. Many organizations offer programs that bring specially trained therapy animals, such as dogs or miniature horses, to visit hospice patients at home or in outdoor settings. Contact local therapy animal organizations to explore available options.
  • Visiting Wildlife Sanctuaries or Petting Zoos: A trip to a wildlife sanctuary or petting zoo, such as the Willowbrook Wildlife Center or the Farmyard at Lambs Farm, can provide a unique and engaging outdoor experience for elderly hospice patients. Choose a location with accessible pathways and gentle animals that are suitable for interaction.

Involving pets or participating in animal-assisted activities can greatly enhance the quality of life for elderly hospice patients. These interactions can provide comfort, joy, and a sense of connection, making the end-of-life journey a more fulfilling and meaningful experience.

By incorporating these additional outdoor activities focused on pets and animals, elderly hospice patients and their families can enjoy a diverse range of experiences that cater to different interests and preferences, helping to create cherished memories and foster emotional well-being during this critical time.

How LifeChoice Home Hospice Supports Outdoor Activities for Elderly Hospice Patients in Chicago

At LifeChoice Home Hospice, the interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals understands the importance of promoting quality of life through engaging activities, including outdoor experiences. LifeChoice can support patients and their families in planning and participating in outdoor activities by:

  • Providing personalized care plans that take into account the patient’s interests and abilities
  • Offering guidance and recommendations for suitable outdoor activities based on the patient’s physical and emotional needs
  • Assisting with the necessary accommodations, such as mobility aids, to ensure the patient’s comfort and safety during outdoor activities
  • Coordinating with family members and caregivers to create meaningful experiences tailored to the patient’s preferences

By working closely with patients, families, and caregivers, LifeChoice Home Hospice aims to enhance the overall well-being of elderly hospice patients in Chicago through personalized care and support, including facilitating outdoor experiences that improve their quality of life.


Outdoor activities can play a crucial role in enhancing the quality of life for elderly hospice patients, providing physical, mental, and emotional benefits while fostering meaningful connections with loved ones. By participating in outdoor activities tailored to their abilities and interests, hospice patients can continue to experience the beauty and wonder of the natural world during their end-of-life journey.

If you or a loved one is in need of hospice care in Chicago, LifeChoice Home Hospice can provide the comprehensive, compassionate care you deserve, including support for outdoor activities and experiences. To learn more about their at-home hospice services or to request an assessment, call LifeChoice at +1 847-777-8888. Their experienced team of healthcare professionals is available to answer your questions, discuss your needs, and help you determine the best course of care for your unique situation.

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