All posts by Jody Beckley

7 Tips for Holiday Planning

If this is your loved one’s first year in a long-term care community, holiday planning can be a stressful time. Even if they’ve lived there for some time, it can still be difficult. Your celebrations will be different from how they were in years past — but “different” doesn’t have to mean “bad.”

Here are some tips to help plan for the holidays with a loved one in long-term care.

Holiday Planning to Make the Most of the Holidays

1. Decorate their room or suite.

Deck out your loved one’s room just like you would their old house. Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, make decorating a family affair.

It’s also a good idea to incorporate pictures of previous holiday celebrations. That way, Mom or Dad can be filled with warm thoughts of time spent with family and friends.


Related: Holiday Decorating with a Loved One with Dementia


2. Encourage your loved one to join community events.

Senior living communities do everything they can to provide residents with fulfilling and entertaining holiday celebrations. Encourage your parent or loved one to join in the holiday events, from choir group performances to Christmas tree lighting ceremonies to Thanksgiving meals.

Review the community’s events calendar together and share copies with loved ones. Plan to have various family members join your mom or dad for the events that are the most appealing to them. And don’t forget to include the grandkids: Residents love the opportunity to show them off!

3. Create a family visitor calendar for the holidays.

It can be as simple as setting up a private group on Facebook or using Google calendars. Ask loved ones to sign up for various days throughout the holiday season. This helps prevent your loved one from having multiple visitors on some days and none on other days.

4. Prepare family members for any changes in Mom or Dad.

If you have any relatives who live out of town and haven’t seen Mom or Dad since they moved into long-term care, they may not be prepared to see the changes in their loved one. Take some time to have a talk with your relatives and catch them up with any relevant health issues.

For example, if Dad is having memory problems, coach them on how to best communicate with someone who has dementia. If Mom has lost a lot of weight, prepare them for that so they don’t make any surprised comments when they first see her.

Also, consider writing out some instructions on how to get to the room or suite your parent is in. The staff at the community will certainly be glad to help them find the right room, but it can put them more at ease if they have an idea of where they’re going.

5. Talk with your parent about their feelings this holiday season.

Esther Heerema, MSW, advises that you have a conversation with your parent about spending the holidays in long-term care. Hereema is a licensed social worker who has worked extensively with individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.

“You know that phrase about the elephant in the room? Acknowledge it. Your family member may need to process the changes from last year and talk extensively about what she is missing out on this year,” Hereema says. “She also might appreciate hearing that you’ll miss her amazing turkey stuffing that she makes every year, or just that you will be missing her.”

6. Take them home to join your celebrations.

If their health allows it and you live within a reasonable difference from the community, take them home for the big day. If you have other relatives coming to your house to celebrate, ask if they can pick up your parent so you don’t have to fit it in your busy schedule of holiday preparations.

7. Take some time for yourself.

This is the most important rule when planning for the holidays with a loved one in a long-term care community. AgingCare offers these holiday tips for caregivers:

  • Take a break when you feel yourself getting stressed.
  • Ask for help from family members and friends.
  • Make a to-do list to help yourself stay organized.
  • Simplify your holiday plans. Decide which traditions are too much work and let them go.
  • Accept imperfection. Feel like you’re not doing enough? Nobody is perfect. Do your best and accept the rest.


Related: 5 Holiday Survival Tips for Central Ohio Caregivers


Making the Most of Long-Term Care Year-Round

When seniors are no longer able to live on their own and need daily help, a long-term care community is often the best place for them. The holidays may make you feel a little blue that Mom or Dad is no longer at home, but remember that they are in a place where they’re safe and are being well-cared-for.

Here are a few additional resources that may help during the holidays and year-round:

Visual or Audible: Great Books For Seniors in Long-Term Care

How Often Should I Visit My Loved One in Long-Term Care?

Long-Term Care Guide


Staying Active Indoors this Winter

As we move into the colder months, staying active can seem difficult between the brutal cold and fears of falling alone.

Many are looking for ways to stay active indoors out of the cold! We hear that statement often during the late fall and winters, and not just from seniors.

Here we have a few ideas to consider:

Get Moving!

  1. First, walking is a great form of exercise! But some may be reluctance to walk outside when it is snowy and icy. The good news is that there are several ways to get a daily walk in that won’t require you to brave the elements. Many shopping malls open early for walkers. Lace up those sneakers and walk before the rush of the crowds begins for the day. Call the nearest  shopping mall to see what they offer.
  2. If there isn’t a mall near that offers morning walking or if you prefer to walk later in the day, consider going to a department store or home improvement store. Walking laps around the outside aisles of these larger stores is another easy way to get your walk in. Wear a pedometer or fitness tracker to monitor your progress.
  3. Another idea is to check with your health insurance provider to see if they partner with Silver Sneakers. Many Medicare replacement plans offer a membership at no cost to seniors. Silver Sneaker classes take place at YMCA branches, local rehab communities and other fitness centers.
  4. For days when the weather is just too bad to leave home, consider investing in a treadmill or stationary bike. If you ask friends and family, you might even be able to find a used one in good condition. Another few snowy day activities might be Wii fitness games or taking a virtual Chair Yoga class on YouTube.

Keep Your Mind Sharp

  1. Staying mentally active is also important when cabin fever starts to set in. Playing cards, painting, sketching and listening to music are all good activities. Consider learning how to play an instrument or taking up a new foreign language. Many can be done completely online.
  2. Strolling Trivia is one of the most requested events in our communities. Participants answer challenging trivia questions while strolling along. Topics range from current events to American history. Visitors are always welcome to join us!

We hope these new ideas will help you stay active this winter!

Open Enrollment: Who, What, Why and How

Many find that working your way through the Medicare Open Enrollment process for the first time can be very daunting! Seniors are bombarded with information by mail and even on television commercials but what information is actually necessary for open enrollment?

Here’s a quick overview of what you should know to help make the most of Medicare:

  • Medicare Open Enrollment allows older adults enrolled in Medicare to make changes to their plan once each year. Open Enrollment takes place every year from October 15th through December 7th.
  • Any changes that you make during this time will go into effect January 1st of 2023.
  • During the Open Enrollment period, you can sign up for original Medicare (parts A and B), Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage), or a Medicare Advantage Plan (part C).
  • Seniors may be enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan in lieu of traditional Medicare, these types of plans are offered by private insurance companies through an HMO or PPO.
  • Each year Medicare plans, providers and options change. This year, plan premiums are historically low so with some research, you might be able to find a more desirable plan with a wider range of providers to better meet your needs. Medicare plans for the upcoming year typically become available on in October. To review potential options, use the Plan Finder Tool on the Medicare website.
  • There are also Medicare specialists available to help you through this process. You can search to find one near you. It’s important to call for an appointment early, however. Don’t wait until the deadline is looming to try to book time.

Top 10 Winter Safety Tips for Seniors

Being a family caregiver during frosty northern winters can be especially challenging. From power outages to slip and fall accidents on black ice, being prepared is key. Here are our top ten suggestions:

Preparing for Winter

  1. Emergency Kit: Ice and snow storms can keep individuals stuck indoors for several days in a row. Make sure to have at least a 3-day food and water supply, a battery operated weather radio, one week’s supply of medications, blankets and warm clothing that can be used in the event of a power outage.
  2. Cell Phone or Emergency Call System: Another way to make sure your loved one stays safe is to provide them with a way to be able to quickly call you or 911 for help. Both a cell phone or an emergency call system can make that easier.
  3. Winter Gear: Also make sure they have good outdoor winter weather gear. Heavy coats, hats and mittens are a must. Boots with non-skid treads are another necessity.
  4. Furnace Inspection: Carbon monoxide is a deadly risk during winter months. Check with your loved one to see if their furnace has been inspected this season and to make arrangements for that to happen if they haven’t.
  5. Sidewalks and Drive: If you aren’t able to keep your loved ones sidewalks and driveways clear of ice and snow, help them interview and hire a landscaping service to do so. Your local agency on aging may be a good resource for helping you locate a contractor you can trust.
  6. Transportation Alternatives: Encourage them to use alternate forms of transportation on snowy or icy days. From local busing services to Uber, there are a variety of options to meet their needs.
  7. Vehicle Safety: Their car might also need to undergo a check-up. It should be checked out for tire condition, antifreeze, wiper fluid and wiper blades, heater/defroster, and battery life.
  8. Vehicle Emergency Kit: Much like the emergency kit you put together for your loved one’s home is one you should to create to keep in their vehicle(s). Food, water, blankets, a cell phone and car charger, as well as warm clothing should be kept in an easy to access location in their vehicle(s). Behind the driver or passenger seat is probably best. In the event they get stranded on the roads during winter weather, they can stay warm and safe until help arrives.
  9. Senior Registry Program: Some communities in and around certain areas have programs in place to allow seniors and their caregivers to register an older adult’s name and address noting the fact that they live alone. It makes first responders aware of their situation during emergencies.
  10. Respite Care Services: Our final tip is to take advantage of a respite care program at a local assisted living community if you need to travel this winter. This way, you can ensure your loved one will stay safe and secure until your return.

We hope this list of resources helps keep you and your loved ones safe this winter!

Vitamin C Benefits for Seniors

Vitamin C is typically associated with cold and flu season because it aides the body in fighting viruses. But it does so much more than just prevent colds, it’s also an essential nutrient in living and aging.

Health Benefits

Continued research shows evidence that vitamin C may help lower blood pressure as well as potential antioxidant effects that can help reduce symptoms of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Vitamin C also aides our bodies in additional functions, some of which include:

  • Lowering risk of cataracts;
  • Reducing the signs of aging in the skin;
  • Encouraging white blood cell creation, helping the body fight infections;
  • Promoting collagen production, which helps wounds heal faster;
  • Stabilizing blood sugar in people with diabetes;
  • Dilating blood vessels, promoting a healthier heart;
  • Converting cholesterol into bile salt to eliminate it from the body;
  • Lowering uric acid in the blood, helping to prevent a painful form of arthritic known as gout.

While the connection is uncertain, vitamin C is believed to help reduce inflammation and as a result, contributes to the reduction of dementia and some types of cancer.

Vitamin C Deficiency Health Risks

In contrast, not providing your body with sufficient levels can increase your risk for some health conditions and diseases. Vitamin C deficiency manifests symptomatically after about 8 to 12 weeks of inadequate intake. Initial symptoms most have are drowsiness, weakness and irritability, but you may also experience:

  • frequent nosebleeds
  • bleeding gums
  • weight gain
  • slower metabolism
  • easily bruised skin
  • difficulty healing wounds
  • weakened immune system
  • anemia

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to speak with your physician.

How much is enough?

As is true of many vitamins, there is no clear answer on the daily amount to consume. The following recommendations from several leading authorities should be discussed with your physician.

  • The U.S. Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends men over the age of 18 take 90 milligrams a day and women of the same age take 75 milligrams daily.
  • Researches from Oregon State University say the daily allowance should be 200 milligrams per day for both men and women.
  • Scientists from the University of Michigan suggest an even higher number, believing that consuming 500 milligrams of vitamin c each day promotes optimal health.

Vitamin C Rich Foods

Vitamin C FoodsVitamin C is water soluble and the body does not store it, this is why daily consumption is strongly encouraged. The bright side is that there are many fruits and vegetables naturally rich in vitamin C that can be easily incorporated in your daily diet. Mix them into other foods, soups and smoothies, if necessary.


  • Leafy greens, such as spinach and romaine lettuce,
  • Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli,
  • Strawberries, raspberries. blueberries and cranberries,
  • Kiwi, papaya, pineapple and mango,
  • Green, yellow and red peppers,
  • Tomatoes and tomato juice.


We encourage you to evaluate your current consumption and potential deficiency symptoms. If you should have any concerns, contact your physician.

Surgery Recovery Tips to Get You Home Faster

If you’ve recently had surgery or are preparing for one, it’s best to have a plan in place for your recovery. You’ll want to talk to your physician about what you can expect after surgery and if you’ll require rehabilitation services to get you back on your feet. But what else can you do to help speed up the recovery process?

In this blog, learn our top five surgery recovery tips to help get you home faster.

Top 5 Surgery Recovery Tips

There are several things you can do following surgery to help you heal faster. Most of the following tips can be applied to many different types of procedures, but it’s important to contact your physician for specific guidance to your situation.

1.   Follow Your Discharge Instructions From the Hospital

Following your discharge instructions is a crucial step in the recovery process. Set aside time to review them thoroughly and contact your physician or surgeon if you have any questions.

Understanding what to expect as you heal and what activities you can or can’t do will get you started on the right path. The last thing you want to do is attempt something your body isn’t ready to do, resulting in a setback or an injury.

Here’s some of the information you might find in your discharge forms:

  • Activity level (lifting, weight-bearing exercises, driving, etc.)
  • Dietary notes and restrictions
  • Therapy orders
  • Wound care details
  • Prescriptions
  • Side effects and complications
  • Mental health awareness
  • Contact information for your care team


2.   Set Aside Time to Rest


A common mistake people make after surgery is over-exerting themselves and trying to do too much too quickly. Sometimes pain medication can make it difficult to assess how your body handles activity. When it’s difficult to listen to your body, remember to refer to your discharge instructions for recommended activity levels.

Try to follow your surgeon’s guidance to ensure you have plenty of time to rest and heal, reducing your risk of complications or injuries. If unsure what to do, ask questions and share concerns with your physician’s office.

If your recovery process prevents you from performing routine activities of daily living on your own, consider an inpatient rehabilitation stay at a center near you. You’ll receive therapy services, enjoy meals and also reap the benefits of amenities like housekeeping and laundry services, activity programming and additional nursing care.


Related: Choosing the Right Rehab Center ____________________________________________________________________

3.   Keep Your Appointments

Keep Appointments

It’s likely that you’ll have follow-up appointments after surgery, and you may also have therapy sessions. It’s essential that you go to all of your appointments so your care team can monitor your recovery. Your physician can watch for signs of infection, evaluate your healing and provide additional instructions.

Appointments are also an ideal time for you to ask questions and share concerns. Make sure you write these down ahead of time, so you’re prepared and less likely to forget anything.

If you are participating in rehabilitation such as physical or occupational therapy, it’s important to go to each scheduled session to stay on track with your discharge plan. Your therapy team is another great resource to turn to for questions on activity level and healing time.

4.   Eat Nutritious Meals and Stay Hydrated

Nutritious Meals

You’ll want to drink plenty of water and choose healthy foods rich in vitamins, nutrients and protein to give your body the energy it needs to recover fully. Be mindful of your care team’s dietary recommendations and restrictions.

If you’re experiencing nausea or have other concerns about your diet, reach out to your physician promptly. Dehydration can happen quickly and may sometimes result in hospitalization or other complications.


Related: Post-Rehab Recipes You’ll Love ____________________________________________________________________

5.   Care for Your Incision

Caring for your incision correctly is crucial in reducing the risk of infection. Follow your discharge instructions on how to properly care for your incision and know the signs of infection. Call your physician’s office immediately if you notice the area is pink, red or has unusual drainage.

You’ll also likely receive guidance on how to keep the area clean and how often to change the dressing. Always wash your hands thoroughly before coming in contact with your wound. You may be restricted to taking baths instead of showers — or you may have to keep the incision dry for a set period of time.


Looking for a Rehabilitation Center Near You?

Are you looking for a rehabilitation center for your post-surgery care needs? Optalis Health and Rehabilitation offers several locations in Michigan and Ohio. We specialize in post-hospital inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. And we have pre-surgery reservations so you can reserve your room ahead of time and know what to expect in your recovery process.





How to Vote When Living at an Assisted Living Community

Election Day is Tuesday, November 8, 2022. Voting is a fundamental right of all Americans, therefore, federal laws are in place to ensure everyone has the right to vote regardless of where they live. This means there are accommodations in place to help those living — or temporarily recovering — in assisted living or skilled nursing gain the access they need to vote.

Voting Options for Older Adults Who Need Assistance

You can vote in person on Election Day or by absentee ballot prior to Election Day. Many senior living or long-term care facilities will provide transportation to the polls on Election Day.

If voting by absentee ballot, you need to fill out and return an application and then the absentee ballot will be mailed to you. Find the Ohio absentee application and more information here.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot is three days before the election in which you want to vote; however, you can submit an application at any time so don’t wait if you plan to go this route.

When returning by mail, absentee ballots must be postmarked by the day before the election in order to be counted. Absentee ballots can also be returned in-person before the close of the polls on Election Day.

Requesting Assistance With Your Ballot

If you need assistance with your ballot because of a disability, you may bring someone with you to help you vote. You may ask anyone to help you vote unless they are on the ballot.

You also may ask for assistance from two precinct election officials from each of the major political parties. No one who helps you vote can tell you how you must vote or provide information to others about how you voted.

If you cannot make it to the polls, your county board of elections can deliver the ballot and provide assistance. Two election officials of different political parties must deliver the ballot and return it to the board of elections. Contact your local board of elections to receive details regarding this process.

Are the Polls Accessible for Those with Disabilities?

Voting locations must be free of barriers to enter and exit and must have ramps, wide doors and accessible parking for people with disabilities. If a location is exempt from accessibility requirements, curbside voting must be offered to those with disabilities. That means two election officials from each of the major political parties will bring a ballot to you.

Ohio also requires every polling location to have a voting machine that is accessible to individuals with disabilities. These machines include features like audio ballots, braille touch pads, large print, text-zoom features and height and tilt adjustments on the screens.

Make sure to tell poll workers if you require an accessible voting system.

Learn more on how to register or update your voter registration in Ohio right here.

Helping a Senior with Medicare Open Enrollment

Every fall we receive questions about Medicare open enrollment from adult children in the area. Because many of them are not yet eligible for Medicare, they need advice on how to help their aging parent navigate through the yearly open enrollment process.

What is Medicare Open Enrollment?

For those unfamiliar with the open enrollment period, it extends from October 15 through December 7 each year. During that time, people with Medicare can change their health plan and prescription drug coverage. If you opt to make any changes, they will go into effect January 1.

To help seniors get unbiased advice and guidance, each state offers help through the State Health Insurance Program (SHIP). If you feel you need more assistance in tackling this process with an aging loved one, schedule an appointment with one of these experts. You can find contacts in your area by visiting the official Medicare site. In Ohio, the hotline number is 1-800-686-1578. One word of advice is not to delay making the appointment. If you wait until the end of the open enrollment period, you may run out of time.

5 Ways to Help a Senior Loved One Navigate Medicare Open Enrollment

If you will be helping your aging parent or loved one review their plan and possibly make changes, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

1. Begin by reviewing the variety of different health plan information sheets that come in the mail on an almost daily basis during this time. The Medicare Plan Finder is an easy way to sift through the various offerings online. Waiting until close to the end of the enrollment period can make this part of the process overwhelming. Depending on where your senior loved one lives, there are a lot of options out there. Try to make time every day or two to review and make notes on any new plan information that arrives.

2.The National Council on Aging (NCOA) suggests seniors and their family caregivers review what they refer to as the four “Cs” of Medicare coverage: cost, coverage, convenience, and customer service. Use last year’s out-of-pocket expenses and your loved one’s feelings about their current providers’ customer service to determine where adjustments might need to be made. Many centers offer Medicare workshops you may attend with your parent.

3. Your state insurance department offers information and help.

4. Medicare advises consumers to consider costs, coverage, your non-Medicare coverage, prescription drugs, doctor and hospital choice, quality of care, and travel when choosing a plan. If you need special care, such as rehab or skilled nursing, will your plan cover it? Which is best for you—traditional Medicare or Medicare Advantage?

5. If your senior loved one has a tight budget, they may qualify for assistance. Medicare Part D Low Income Subsidy, known as Extra Help, and Medicare Savings are two options to explore.

Prepare for Open Enrollment

If you are helping your senior loved one, make sure they have all their documents in order. They should have the information for their current plan, as well as all the identifying data they’ll need to change their plan if they want to.

For more information about topics of interest to older adults and the people who love them, read our blogs. If you’d like to learn how Optalis can help your senior loved one live a happier, healthier life,  contact us online.

9 Gift Ideas That Are Perfect for Someone in the Hospital

If your friend or family member is in the hospital, it’s natural to want to bring them something when you visit. However, how do you know what gift will be appropriate and appreciated?

To help you out, here are some hospital gift ideas (that aren’t flowers!) that are perfect for older adults.

What to Bring Someone in the Hospital After Surgery

Books and magazines

Boredom often runs rampant when a patient is stuck in bed. Bring your loved one a new book or the latest issue of their favorite magazine to help them pass the time.

Also, don’t forget about digital formats. If the person has a smartphone or tablet, get them a subscription to an online audiobook service like Audible, or help them download an eBook app if their library offers one. Podcasts are also a great idea—there are tons of options out there to suit everyone’s interests.

Food and Drink

Normally candy or a bottle of your friend’s drink of choice is a quick, easy and appreciated gift idea. However, you’ll likely want to steer clear of food and drink for someone in the hospital. They may be on a special diet that prohibits them from eating their favorite food or drinking their favorite beverage.

If they aren’t on a special diet, food and drink is always an option. During the holidays, consider bringing a seasonal treat or an old family recipe that brings back warm memories.


Games and Puzzles

Along those same lines, bring crossword puzzles or a deck of cards. You won’t want to bring anything that takes up too much space, such as a large board game, but there are plenty of compact options out there that would make great hospital gifts.


There’s nothing wrong with this classic. It doesn’t take up much space but still conveys your warm wishes. Besides, keep in mind that most people simply appreciate the gift of your time when you visit them in the hospital. A card is a nice keepsake if you don’t want to come empty-handed, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself to come with the perfect gift.

Personal Care Items

Your loved one likely has the necessities already, either from the hospital or from home, but sometimes the little things get forgotten. Bring them some calming lotion or soothing lip balm. Even if they already have some, it’s always nice to enjoy a new scent.

You could also bring them some items to add to their comfort, such as a nice blanket or pillow. Fuzzy, warm socks are also a good gift—just be sure they have grips on the bottom.

Reusable Shopping Bags

You know how you pack for a vacation and leave space in your suitcase for gifts and souvenirs? People don’t usually think to do that for hospital stays—especially when the stay is unexpected. A very practical and useful gift is a reusable shopping bag or two for them to tote their other gifts home in.

It’s the gift that keeps on giving, as people who have had a long stay often need post-hospital rehabilitation. As they go back and forth for treatment, the bags will come in handy again.

Organizational Supplies

In the coming days and weeks, your loved one is going to be receiving a mountain of important paperwork, both from the hospital and any follow-up care during their recovery. Give them or their caregiver an easy way to organize everything by bringing a binder or expanding file.

Creative Hospital Gift Ideas

Looking for something that’s a bit more unique? Try these creative gift ideas.

Make a Comfort Box with Your Loved One

The experts at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center recommend “comfort boxes” to help anyone feeling stressed out or anxious.

What’s a comfort box?

“It’s an emotional first aid kit,” licensed psychiatric social wo width=rker Marybeth McDonald writes. “The idea is to fill the comfort box with things that you can use when you’re struggling that will help you feel and stay safe.”

If your loved one is struggling with the emotional aftermath of their surgery or hospital stay, a comfort box could help. On your next visit, you could bring an empty shoebox and supplies to decorate it together, then discuss what they would like to put in it. Some ideas include family pictures, favorite quotes, playlists and chocolate.

You can read more about how to create a comfort box on the Wexner medical center blog.

Post-Hospital Care Package

Sometimes the best gift for someone in the hospital is the one that comes after they’ve gone home or to a rehabilitation center. Make a post-hospital care package for your friend or family member and drop it off when they’ve arrived.

Include common, everyday things to save them or their caregiver a trip to the store when they get home. It’s also a good idea to include germ-killing hygiene items for visitors to use. Some ideas include:

  • Visitor-friendly snacks
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Freezer bags
  • Trash bags
  • Toilet paper
  • Tissues

9 Fall Activities to do With Your Senior

Autumn is here, with beautiful colors, abundant harvests, and gorgeous weather that makes most of us want to get outdoors and enjoy all the fall activities Central Ohio has to offer. Here’s a list of nine activities to do in the area, even better they are all free or inexpensive!

  1. Apple picking: Enjoy the pretty drive to Pick-ur-own farms such as Lynd Fruit Farm, and Hann Farms. Sites such as have a complete list of U-Pick farms all around the area.
  2. Pumpkin Patches: Enjoy pumpkin patches, corn mazes, hay rides, and lots of fall fun
  3. Do your own autumn colors tour: Prepare a batch of hot mulled cider, pour it into insulated cups, grab some cookies or trail mix, and jump in the car for a tour of our town’s beautiful fall foliage. If you drive by a Columbus Metro Park, consider adding number 4 to your trip.
  4. Take a walk through some fall foliage at one of Central Ohio’s 16 Metro Parks, with over 175 miles of trails, from easy strolls, to demanding hikes. It’s a sensory wonderland, with the crisp scent of autumn, the crunchy leaves, the cool weather, and the boost of energy you’ll get from the exercise.
  5. Our Metro Parks also have programs you could check into. They’ve got everything from bird watching groups, to classes about all things nature…often on group hikes with a naturalist, to night-time lantern strolls.
  6. Visit a local food festival, and enjoy the harvest from farmers right here in Central Ohio…nothing could be fresher!
  7. Take the produce you find at one of those local food festivals and cook up a storm! Juicy apples can become homemade apple sauce or apple pie. Robust pumpkin makes wonderful curried pumpkin soup, or pumpkin ravioli. Don’t forget kale and spinach: These cool weather greens make fabulous kale soup, or spinach salad with hot bacon dressing.
  8. Take advantage of memberships or senior discounts. Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, The Franklin Park Conservatory, COSI, the Columbus Art Museum, or any number of other Central Ohio attraction. Each of them offers programs, seasonal displays, or a special autumn feel that you’ll miss if you don’t go this season.
  9. Crafts are a perfect idea for chilly, rainy, autumn days. Plan ahead during your walks and outdoor fun, by collecting beautiful leaves and nuts, purchasing gourds and vines, and keeping an eye out for craft-worthy items. Then when the weather coops you up indoors, create fall décor, Thanksgiving cards, and other autumnal crafts. Sites like Good Housekeeping or Country Living can give you great craft ideas and instructions.