Is there anything better after the extended, cold winter than finally opening up the windows and allowing the clean, warm, springtime breezes to drift through the house? Something about the sights, scents, and sounds of nature gives us a powerful pick-me-up, and that’s why it is very important for senior loved ones to get the opportunity to take advantage of the outside to the fullest extent feasible.
Of particular benefit to older adults are environments that are classified as green and “blue” (those that include still or running water). Per Jessica Finlay, a PhD candidate in geography and gerontology at the University of Minnesota and head researcher in a current study of 65 – 86-year-olds, “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.”
Experiment with the following activities for seniors, designed to take advantage of investigating and participating in the natural world around them:
- Invite your loved one to excursions at community parks, particularly those that feature a body of water, even if it is something as common as a small koi pond or water fountain.
- Help the senior loved one create and maintain a small container garden of whatever is of interest – a favorite type of flower, a variety of easy-to-grow vegetables, or perhaps a small bonsai tree.
- For anyone with dementia, supply options for sensory stimulation using natural elements such as sand, potting soil, grass, leaves, water, etc. Simply position containers of several materials on a picnic table outside and allow the senior to explore.
- Visit a playground to allow for the added joy of hearing children’s laughter mingled with the songs of birds and rustling leaves.
- Create a specific area on the front porch or even in a shaded part of the yard that includes comfy seating, and then make it a regular ritual, when weather permits, to sit and have conversations, read books, and savor some seasonal fresh fruit or a picnic lunch together.
Contact At-Home Care Company, the Boone home care professionals, for many more senior-friendly ideas for taking pleasure in nature, and for a companion to supply transportation and accompaniment to enjoyable outdoor activities for seniors. Our individualized care services ensure that seniors maintain the greatest potential quality of life at all times, alleviating loneliness and isolation and offering the confidence needed to remain active and engaged.
Whether the need is for just one or two hours weekly, around-the-clock care, or anything in between, contact us at (515) 292-2650 to inquire about a no cost in-home assessment. Take the first step towards improving health and wellness for a loved one today!