Modern life can drive a disconnect between humans and the natural world. For some, it can be difficult to prioritize our own mental and physical health. Others may face mobility challenges that limit their options for leaving home. However, Vitamin N[ature] has significant physical, mental, and social benefits for all ages. Researchers continuously stress the importance of spending time in nature, especially in older adults and seniors.
“We zoomed in to everyday life for seniors between the ages of 65 and 86 and 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.”
~ Jessica Finlay, University of Minnesota
Although older adults may feel limited by their own unique constraints, every older person can find an activity that allows them to experience the healing power of nature!
What do studies say you can do to reap these health benefits, no matter your situation?
- See the Green! Having a view of greenery or gardens from a bedroom or common space in a long-term care facility is said to significantly improve the residents’ wellbeing.
- Breath in the Fresh Air: Having opportunities to get some fresh air is believed to improve both physical and mental health, particularly for individuals suffering from dementia.
- Stay Connected with your Community: Spending time outdoors can facilitate a connectedness to society among older people and boost their confidence, particularly for those living with dementia.
- Outdoor, Distanced Socializing: Spending time outside provides older people with more opportunities to engage and socialize with others, as well as participate in outdoor activities, such as picnics.
- Have a Green Hobby: Gardening makes for an excellent source of low-impact exercise, incorporating various movements such as bending, watering, and pruning. These exercises can contribute to the physical health and overall mood of elderly people. In fact, gardening can have therapeutic effects on older adults with depression.
- Create a Routine and Explore: Having access to natural areas can be a motivation for elderly folks to go on more regular walks. This can also give them a routine, which is highly beneficial.
- Have a Gratitude for Nature: Spending time with nature allows older adults to heighten their spirituality and strengthen their relationship with the earth.
Check out our YouTube channel to see some of our features Senior Nature Champions who have found ways to conserve and enjoy nature in their retirement.
Older adults want to spend time in nature and when they do they reap the benefits with a higher quality of life. At the Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust, we are committed to providing safe, nature-based opportunities for the older adults in our community. We protect and conserve our land so that all generations – old and new – can continue to learn and benefit from nature!
Visit www.oakridgesmoraine.org/workshops-events for upcoming events and workshops.