7 Ways for Caregivers (and their Loved Ones) to Celebrate Earth Day
This year, Earth Day celebrates its 52nd birthday. In the more than half a century since the holiday’s creation, humanity has come a long way. Now, scientists better understand the impact that pollution has on the environment, corporations are taking steps to reduce their carbon emissions, and the general public is increasingly aware of the climate crisis.
As an individual on a planet of more than 7.5 billion people, it’s easy to feel like nothing you do will make a difference. You might not be able to change the world overnight, but you can set an example for others and make our world a healthier and happier place.
Here are 7 ways for caregivers (and their loved ones) to celebrate Earth Day:
Earth Day is about celebrating the planet we live on. There’s no better way to do that, than to get outside and breathe in some fresh air. If you have a large backyard or patio, sit back, relax, and watch the birds. If your care recipient is in a nursing home, hospital, or long-term care facility, ask if you can take them for a stroll around the premises in their wheelchair.
Once you’re outside, take time to enjoy the scenery. Close your eyes and let the sun kiss your skin. Take in the sounds, smells, and sights. If your loved one is able, bring a sketchbook and some drawing utensils. Or, if that’s not an option, pack a picnic lunch.
Getting outside can also benefit your care recipient’s health. Research shows that spending time in nature lowers blood pressure and reduces stress. For people with neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia, going outside can reduce stress, decrease agitation, and improve mood.
Pick up trash
Nine billion tons of trash enter the Earth’s oceans each year. Sadly, much of that trash ends up in the stomachs of whales, sea turtles, and other marine animals. The more that wildlife comes into contact with plastics and other pollution, the more likely to is to enter the human food supply. A 2019 study published in National Geographic found that the average human consumes enough microplastics to account for 15% of their annual caloric intake. Yikes!
Do your part, and prevent the trash from entering the local water supply. If you care for someone who’s still relatively independent and mobile, consider picking up trash around your neighborhood. All you need is:
A cart, wagon, or wheelbarrow
Trash picking tool
Set a timer for between 30 and 60 minutes, and see how much trash you can collect. Once you’re done, bring your finds home and throw them in the dumpster. If you have fun, consider making trash pick-up a habit.
Invest in eco-friendly products
Earth Day isn’t about gift-giving, but it does present a chance to reevaluate your current shopping habits. Many of us make impulse purchases based on convenience and affordability. Unfortunately, many items that are cheap are also disposable and therefore contribute to the climate crisis.
Here at Carewell, we’ve partnered with a number of sustainable brands to create an Earth Month Collection. The collection includes a variety of eco-friendly, reusable, and organic products designed specifically for family caregivers. It features products from Abena Brand, Kate Farms, Beck’s Reusable, Bambo, and more. Click here to browse the Earth Month Collection.
Plant seed starters
With summer right around the corner, many green thumbs are preparing for gardening season. That said, if you live in a cool or wet climate, you may have to wait a little longer to start sowing seeds. Don’t let rain, sleet, or freezing temperatures throw a wrench in your Earth Day celebrations.
If you can’t go outside yet, bring the garden in –– with seed starters. Seed starters put you in more control. Since the plants are inside, you can monitor them throughout the day, adjusting their light and water as necessary. What’s more, starting your garden inside prevents exposure to pests, allowing for healthier growth.
Unsure where to begin? Check out this helpful seed starter guide from Gardeners.com.
Make a recycling station
Does your care recipient throw everything in the trash, including soda cans, milk jugs, and cardboard boxes? While it might seem convenient to toss everything, this practice increases the production of greenhouse gases. Not only that, but when trash and recyclables are mixed together, recycling plants often send everything to the landfill instead of re-sorting it.
You can prevent both of these negative side effects, by creating a recycling station at home. All you need is:
Four or five plastic tubs or milk crates
Each tub or milk crate is for sorting a specific recyclable, (i.e.: glass, plastic, metal, or paper). Make a label with masking tape for each category and put the label on the correct box. Place the tubs in your garage or kitchen, so they’re easy to access. Whenever you finish a food item or beverage that’s recyclable, simply rinse out the container, and throw it in the correct bin.
Spring clean and donate
If you care for someone with mobility issues, that increase the risk of a slip and fall, consider doing some spring cleaning on Earth Day.
By recycling or donating unwanted items from your loved one’s home, you can eliminate clutter, clear pathways, and prevent accidents or injuries. When you’re finished cleaning, bring the outdoors in with some flowers or another type of plant.
Visit a local farm
Much of the fresh produce that Americans eat comes from commercial farms. These agricultural marvels help keep bellies full, but they also use harmful pesticides and release greenhouse gases. If you want to eat more sustainably in 2022, consider taking your care recipient on a trip to a local farm. Small, family-owned farms increase biodiversity and enhance food security. They also leave a smaller carbon footprint.
These are just a few simple ways to celebrate Earth Day with your care recipient. Whatever you choose, we hope you have fun and make memories that last a lifetime. If you have any questions about the products in our Earth Month Collection, contact our friendly Care Specialists by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (855) 855-1666.
Chad Birt is a freelance B2B and B2C medical writer who resides in Astoria, Oregon. When he isn't behind a keyboard, you can find him hiking, camping, or birdwatching with his wife Ella and their two dogs, Diane and Thoreau.