There is a lot of focus on the practical matters related to caring for a loved one, and on caregiver stress and health issues. That information is valuable, but it leaves out an important piece of caregiving—what a rewarding experience it can be for both the caregiver and the care recipient. One of the key factors in reaping the rewards of this journey is to be able to spend quality time together, living life, laughing together, and loving each other along the way. While everyone is on a tighter budget these days, Spring is finally upon us, so we can expand our horizons and enjoy some free or low costing outdoor entertainment. Here are some suggestions:
Free outdoor concerts: Many area parks have free concerts both throughout the week as well as on weekends. Bring your own comfortable chairs and get there early to scout out a good location, because these concerts always draw a crowd!
The St. Louis Zoo: Our area is lucky to have not only one of the best zoos in the country, but also one of the few that offers free admission. Wheelchairs are available if your older loved one may have a difficult time walking the hilly terrain.
Farmer’s Markets: Help support the local farms and at the same time enjoy the festive atmosphere and the fresh fruits and vegetables grown locally. Many markets have live music and special activities during the weekends.
Forest Park: In addition to the Zoo, Forest Park is home to the History Museum, the Art Museum, and the Science Center, which all offer free admission. Special exhibits at the Art Museum are free on Fridays.
The Missouri Botanical Garden: There isn’t a more beautiful attraction in the Spring. Seniors have a low costing $3 admission everyday, but all area residents are offered a free admission on Wednesdays and Saturdays before noon. Therapeutic horticultural classes geared directly toward seniors are also offered for $7.00.
Free outdoor theater: The Shakespeare Festival St. Louis will be performing Hamlet for free in Forest Park. All performances are wheelchair accessible, and Thursday performances are signed for the hearing impaired. Free seats are also available at every Muny performance. The Muny is wheelchair accessible and has interpretive performances and assisted listening devices for people who are blind or deaf.
Explore our national parks: Seniors can obtain a $10 lifetime pass to our national parks that admits the senior and 3 other adults for free to all national parks that have a fee. The pass also gives seniors a 50% discount on other fees such as camping and boating.
Just remember, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to spend quality time with your loved one, and those loving memories you create today will last you a lifetime. Happy Spring!!