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Why is the weather such an inherent part of conversations in so many countries?
It could be because it is ever-changing, or because it affects everybody, or maybe just because it is an interesting and harmless topic of conversation; whether among friends or strangers. Perhaps it is for all of these reasons.
Not every culture has this habit of discussing the weather; in Arab countries for instance only extreme weather fuels talk about the weather.
Given our enthusiasm for the weather in much of the Western world, it is not surprising that many people enjoy keeping track of the weather as a hobby.
In the long years I worked with seniors I encountered a number of them with an intriguing devotion to ‘checking the weather gauge’.
It is an absorbing activity suitable for any time of the year. Perhaps you have some residents who would enjoy this project as well.
Meteorology is the study of atmospheric changes: rainfall, temperature, relative humidity and other elements of nature. Gadgets to measure these things can be found at your local hardware store at very affordable prices.
Of course you could purchase a modern, digital Weather Station gadget which measures all of the above in an instant but I think this would defeat the purpose. The goal is to provide a stimulating project for some curious and interested residents.
Measuring and recording rainfall and fluctuations in temperature will engage residents and bring a great deal of satisfaction.
Announce the idea at your monthly ‘Residents Meeting’ to find interested and suitable contenders or try and excite some of the loners at your facility into participating in this project while conducting room visits.
Consider the rain gauge and the weather thermometer.
A rain gauge to monitor rainfall is inexpensive (starting at $6). Alternatively a homemade rain gauge is as easy as placing a plastic jar outdoors to collect rain and then sticking a ruler next to the jar to see how high the precipitation reaches.
The popular combined Maximum-Minimum thermometer which indicates temperature reached over the course of 24 hours is the most suitable. This U-shaped thermometer has temperature scales expressed in degrees Celsius (ºC) or Fahrenheit (ºF) and can be bought from as little as $12.
Monitoring the daily temperature has some advantages; it can help you determine how to dress appropriately as well as avoid going out when the temperature is extreme.
How often the report is made is up to staff and the resident in charge of the thermometer or rain gauge. The above is an example only.
Read manufacturer's instructions with residents before starting the project and make sure they understand what to do.
Visit residents in charge of projects once in a while for support and encouragement.
You may expand the weather station in the future with a:
You may find that residents involved in taking care of the weather gadgets are very proud and happy to be able to assist staff.
The monthly report findings should be shared with others; use it to turn the occasion into an activity. Read and compare the rainfall with the temperature (noting that when it rains the temperature falls).
Here are a few ideas to carry on with this theme:
Gather two groups of people to challenge each other to come up with the most weather events they can think of.
Use a whiteboard or a large piece of paper, divide it in the middle with a line and write down the list for each group.
The group with the most weather events wins. Here is a list of some weather events for you to jog their memories.
DROUGHT – FIRE HAZZARD – TORNADOS – TYPHOONS – HAIL – MIST – HUMID – CLOUDY – SUNNY - STORMY – WET – DRY – HURRICANES – AVALANCHE – THUNDER SNOW – RAINY – COLD – HOT – SAND STORMS – WINDY – SLEET - BLIZZARD – FOGGY – SNOW – HEATWAVE – ICE STORM – DUST STORM – CYCLONE – THUNDERSTORM - SUN SHOWER – MORNING GLORY CLOUD