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Why the outdoors is good for seniors

August 4, 2021


You know that nature can be renewing, reinvigorating and refreshing if you have ever felt your worries wash away after putting your toes in a river or been able to take a deep, calming breath while staring out at the trees. Going outside and taking in everything that the natural world offers has very significant health advantages — and this is especially true for seniors!

According to a growing body of studies, nature has shown to be a vital tool in helping older individuals live longer, feel better and remain independent.

Nature’s Health Benefits

Provide a boost to their immune systems

Seniors’ immune systems can benefit greatly from spending time in the natural world. People can feel better daily and enhance their overall cardiovascular and metabolic health by living in a community with many trees and plant life. Breathing fresh air, rich in healthy compounds from plants that can help our bodies create more white blood cells to fight infections and inflammation, provides a significant immune boost.

Assist with anxiety, sadness and stress reduction

Spending time in nature may lift our spirits and alleviate melancholy, tension and worry. Going for nature walks has been linked to a reduction in sadness and stress levels and improved mental health. People who spend more time in nature have lower blood pressure, a lower heart rate and less stress than those who do not receive enough time in nature.

Increases the amount of energy you have

Getting outside even for a few minutes a day can provide older individuals with a surge of healthy vitality — exposure to nature aids in developing energy and zest in older adults. In addition, soaking in some sun can lead to higher levels of vitamin D. For people of all ages, vitamin D has been linked to greater energy, improved mood and better overall physical health.

Fosters better sleep

People who connect with nature also may have better sleep patterns than those who do not get out to appreciate the natural world.

Activities in Nature for Adults with Dementia Symptoms

According to studies, linking people with Alzheimer’s, one of the many causes of dementia symptoms, with nature provides for meaningful connections. Another study discusses how green environments enhance personhood and a sense of active citizenship for persons with memory impairment.

Going for walks

This concept uniquely combines physical and mental health advantages. Walking is beneficial for everything from endurance to core strength. You might take your elderly loved one to a nearby park for a nature walk, if they are able. Before you begin walking, consider purchasing a GPS wristband or necklace. It will allow you to reconnect quickly if you become separated.

Go to a farmers market

Another option is to spend a summer’s day outside with your family visiting your local farmers market. Flowers, ice cream and other delightful treats may be available as well as fruits and veggies to add to your favorite meals. Farmers markets in smaller towns may be less crowded and more suitable for adults with dementia symptoms.

Go bird watching

For persons with dementia symptoms, bird watching, whether indoors or outdoors, may be both entertaining and relaxing. Depending on the stage of their illness, you and your loved one might make bird-watching notebooks together. Photograph the birds you see, print them out and save them in your bird book. Sites like All About Birds can help you learn about common bird species in your region if you aren’t familiar with them.

Gardening

When a person with dementia symptoms creates and maintains a garden, the advantages are widely established. It is a form of exercise that benefits the body, mind and spirit. Cultivating a garden also provides a sense of achievement.

It is vital to focus on fun rather than success while doing life-enrichment activities for individuals with dementia symptoms, as it is with most life-enrichment activities. For example, let us assume you aim to spend some time together at a local farmers market. if your loved one’s attention is diverted by something happening nearby, let them be distracted rather than trying to get them to focus on what you set out to do.

At Hollenbeck Palms, our residents enjoy a gated, garden campus of 8.5 acres in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. Walking through our campus stimulates the senses and brings joy into the hearts of everyone who stays with us.

As a Continuing Retirement Community (CCRC), we offer Residential & Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing and a Memory Enhancement Center, which is opening later this year.

We are taking applications for our Memory Enhancement Center now. Call 323-307-4505, or email Zhana Dubin at Zdubin@holpalms.com.