What could be more refreshing than opening up the windows when the weather turns a bit cooler and letting the fragrant breezes drift through your home? There’s something powerful about the sights, sounds, and scents of the outdoors that lift our spirits, which is why it’s so important for seniors to get out and enjoy the benefits of nature as much as possible.
In particular, seniors who spend time in green and “blue” areas (those that include still or running water) feel the greatest impact. According to Jessica Finlay, a doctoral candidate in geography and gerontology at the University of Minnesota and lead researcher in a recent study of seniors ages 65 – 86, “We discovered how a relatively mundane experience, such as hearing the sound of water or a bee buzzing among flowers, can have a tremendous impact on overall health. Accessibility to everyday green and blue spaces encourages seniors to simply get out the door. This in turn motivates them to be active physically, spiritually, and socially, which can offset illness, disability, and isolation.”
These ideas can help you and a senior loved one take full advantage of exploring and engaging in the natural world around us:
- Accompany the senior to nearby parks, especially those that include a body of water, even if it’s simply a small koi pond or water fountain.
- Assist the senior in creating and maintaining a container garden of any type of plant that is of interest – a favorite flower, vegetable plant, or small bonsai tree.
- For a senior with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia, incorporate options for sensory stimulation with natural items like sand, potting soil, grass, leaves, water, etc. Place containers of these assorted items on a picnic table in the yard and let the senior explore them.
- Take a trip to the playground for the extra joy of hearing children laughing and playing, along with the songs of birds and wind blowing through the leaves.
- Create a space on the porch or in a shaded part of the yard with comfortable seating, and then make it a daily routine, when weather allows, to sit together for conversations, reading, and enjoying some fresh fruit or a picnic lunch together.
At Nightingale Homecare, the leading provider of non-medical home care in Phoenix and the surrounding areas, our caregivers love helping seniors get out and reap the benefits of nature. Let us provide a senior you love with a friendly companion to offer transportation and accompaniment to outdoor areas of interest, to take walks together, or whatever other activities spark interest.