Take a Hike: Don’t Skip Senior Outdoor Activities This Summer!
All through our lives, we record time by the change of seasons, and with each season comes a plethora of outdoor activities that spark our senses. In the springtime, we might smell flowering plants or rain in the air. Summer is filled with sunshine that warms our skin and makes us squint our eyes. In the fall, we can hear leaves crunching beneath our feet and enjoy the cooler air that brings relief from summer’s heat. And in the winter, we may enjoy taking a brisk step outside to watch snowflakes fall, only to enjoy retreating back inside when our fingers and toes begin to tingle from the cold.
According to one study, spending time outdoors makes us feel more alive. For seniors who have restricted access to transportation or decreased mobility, being exposed to outdoor activities is even more critical. Nature Deficit Disorder is a term that originally applied to children who remain indoors too much, watching TV and playing video games instead of playing outside. However, this term also can be relevant to the elderly who are confined to nursing homes or their own homes because they are unable to get around by themselves.
In his book entitled The Nature Principle, author Richard Louv puts forth the concept that by connecting with the recuperative powers of nature, we can, among other things, increase mental sharpness, improve health and wellness, and enhance bonds with others. The natural world is such an integral part of our lives. It’s connected to the human experience in so many ways – through water, plants, weather, animals, and differences in regional surroundings. In addition to having the potential for pleasure, nature also gives us a variety of topics to discuss – just watch your local news tonight and the weather is certain to be one of the first things reported.
Experts are of the opinion that outdoor activities for seniors have numerous benefits, including:
- Reduce blood pressure
- Reduce anxiety
- Enhance vitamin D absorption
- Increase physical activity
- Stave off depression
- Enhance immune functionality
There are many ways to help seniors enjoy nature. Caretakers or family members can bring elderly adults outside on porches or decks to take pleasure in a summer breeze, find parks with paved paths that are safe for walkers and wheelchairs, visit arboretums and conservatories in the colder months, and participate in activities like planter gardening and watching birds. Just make sure to assist the senior you care for in wearing appropriate attire and sun protection while enjoying nature.
At Home & Hearth Caregivers, we understand how essential the outdoor world is to those for whom we provide home care and senior support. For more information about our senior care services in Illinois, please contact us today.