With the warmer summer months, your elderly parent may enjoy spending time watching birds and butterflies fluttering around their yard. Watching and identifying them can be an enjoyable way for older adults to pass the time. Family caregivers may have no problem getting birds to the yard with bird feeders and a birdbath but attracting butterflies can be a little more difficult. Below are some steps family caregivers can take to make their parent’s yard more butterfly friendly.
Use Native Plants
Growing flowering plants that are native to the area where your parent lives will attract butterflies because they are already part of the ecosystem. Butterflies feed on the nectar produced by the plants. In turn, the butterflies help with pollination. Native plants also offer caterpillars the foliage they need to eat while they grow.
Choose the Right Colors
Butterflies are more attracted to some colors than others. Colors that will help to attract butterflies are:
They also like flowers that have a flat top or clusters that are easy to perch on. Short flower tubes are best, too, because they are easier to feed from.
Feed the Caterpillars
To bring in butterflies you must also provide food for their young to eat. The caterpillars of many species typically eat only a limited kind of plants. When caregivers and seniors plant a wide variety, they can bring more kinds of butterflies to the yard.
Offer Resting Spots
Putting flat rocks in sunny areas offers the ideal place for butterflies to rest since they need sunshine to orient themselves and warm up their wings for flying. Butterflies also need water. Also, placing a shallow pan filled with sand for collecting water in the yard gives them a shallow puddle where they can drink and take in minerals from the sand.
While family caregivers may want to use insecticides in their elderly parent’s yard to keep away unwanted pests, insecticides also harm butterflies. Look for natural ways to control pests that won’t have a negative effect on butterflies.
Keep Flowers Blooming All Season
Butterflies need to eat throughout their lifespan. To provide them food for the entire season, you’ll need to plant flowers that bloom continuously. You can also plan for one kind of flower to start blooming when another kind stops.
Install a Butterfly Feeder
Family caregivers may want to try hanging a butterfly feeder near the window the older adult usually sits by. This can give the senior a close-up view of their colorful wings and make identifying the species easier.