What Are the Benefits of Living With Nature for Older People?
There’s no denying that a bit of fresh air can do us the world of good. Enjoying all that the great outdoors has the offer and being around nature has significant benefits on our physical, mental and cognitive health and wellbeing. While reduced mobility as we get older might limit long walks, there are still plenty of ways to reap the benefits of spending time in nature.
In this article, we will cover the benefits regular exposure to nature can bring for older people, allowing them to lead active and enriched lifestyles from the comfort of their care home.
What Are the Benefits of Being Around Nature for Older People?
For those living with dementia, connecting with nature has been proven to have a calming effect, helping to reduce any frustration, confusion, anger or anxiety they might be experiencing. In turn, this can help to lower stress, blood pressure and heart rate.
Filled with different sights, smells and sounds, the outdoors is an amazing sensory environment on our doorsteps. By stimulating the senses, it can evoke memories for those living with dementia and enable them to share stories and reminisce. Whether going for a walk or enjoying a relaxing sit down in the sun, being outdoors brings with it the chance for older people to socialise; something that can instantly boost their mood and aid memory recall.
Engaging with the natural surroundings and focusing on something other than screens allows the brain to recharge and helps to improve sleeping patterns which strengthens the immune system. Spending a short amount of time in the sun provides older people with the best natural source of vitamin D, a nutrient that they need to maintain bone health.
What Are the Different Ways Older People Can Be Around Nature?
Find a Favourite Spot to Sit In
Take a seat and enjoy watching the surrounding wildlife and nature; this can either be outdoors or from a room with a view.
Bring the beauty of the outdoors in with the addition of plants in bedrooms and shared areas. Popular choices are succulent plants and pots of herbs on the windowsill.
Bird feeders are an excellent way of bringing nature nearer to the home. Some older people might see it as an opportunity to get crafty and create their own feeder, while others might like to take part in a monthly bird spotting club. Whatever the activity, bird feeders are a great way of getting older people to engage with nature.
For those who are green-fingered, tending to fresh produce in greenhouses and watching it grow captures the attention of older people and they can enjoy the reward of eating the fruits of their labour in their meals.
Taking part in a spot of gardening can give older people a sense of purpose and independence which has a positive effect on their self-confidence and makes them feel more fulfilled. There’s even an opportunity to arrange a competition with friends to see whose sunflower grows the tallest.
Trips to Local Parks
For older people who are able to do so, taking a trip to a local park is a great way of being around nature – we recommend choosing one with a cafe to enjoy a hot drink or ice cream during the visit!
The beauty of nature is that older people don’t have to go outside to enjoy its benefits. Watching wildlife from the comfort of home inspires many to get creative and make their own pictures, poetry and stories.
At Bondcare, we see the benefits living with nature can have on our care home residents first-hand. With care homes across the country, we pride ourselves on providing our residents with beautiful gardens, fun activities and trips to local parks so they can enjoy everything the great outdoors has to offer at their own pace. To find out more about any of our homes, please get in touch with our experienced team today.