The Great Outdoors
It’s no secret that we all need to connect with nature. This fact can be biting for seniors, especially ones with low mobility. It’s a very fair statement that we’re all a little healthier when we spend some time outside. Yet, why does this fact always seem to evade us? It’s so easy to get stuck in the rigmarole of the daily whatever that we forget. Well no more! While we’re sure you’ve heard of some of these, we wrote this to serve as a reminder. Here’ some really good reasons why seniors should be spending more time outside.
1. Lift Your Spirits
Besides the broader spiritual benefits of being outside, being outdoors can simply boost your mood. Experiencing the beauty of the great outdoors makes people happier and less depressed.
A recent study performed at the University of Michigan indicates that there is a connection between group nature walks and diminished levels of depression. There is also a reduced perception of stress and enhanced mental health and well-being
2. Sleep More
For those seniors who are able to exercise outside, research indicates that their sleep is better. When you sleep better, it keeps you in a better mood. You are also better able to engage in your activities the next day.
3. Improve Your Immune System
Research indicates that staying outside increases your white blood cell count. The benefit can last for many days. There is even one study that showed that women who spend many hours in a forest over two days have an increase in white blood cells that lasts for about a week.
4. Get a Boost in Energy
If you have spent a significant amount of time outside, then you know that it enlivens you. Research also shows that this is the case. Spending time outside gives you greater feelings of vitality and boosts your immunity to illnesses. Research indicates that there is a connection between time spent in nature and greater energy.
5. Enhance Overall Health
Research has shown that people who are recovering from surgery get better more rapidly and experience less pain when they get some natural light. Taking in some fresh air can also yield health benefits.
6. Build Better Relationships
Spending time outdoors with your friends and loved ones is a great way to nurture social interaction. You can do this by joining a recreational sports team or just spending time with people out of doors.
7. Get More Vitamin D
A great way of getting more vitamin D is by exposing yourself to sunshine. Vitamin D is important for protecting against osteoporosis, heart disease, and some forms of cancer.
Encouraging a Senior with Limited Mobility to Get Outside
There are a number of mental and physical issues that can stop a senior from getting outside to experience the great outdoors. The fact is that even a quick walk outside can be daunting for a person with mobility issues. However, it is not only important to get them outside. It is crucial.
Tips for Getting a Senior Out
If you find that the senior that you care for is resistant to getting outside, you should start with small steps and be very encouraging. You can find a way for your loved one to get outdoors without needing to travel a long distance or overexert themselves. Use some of the following tips to make things easier on them:
1. Find a Window
Start off by suggesting that they sit by an open window for a short time a couple of times a day to get some fresh air. The fact that they will feel better in the air may inspire them to make the effort to make a trip out of doors.
2. Backyards Count
If your loved one has a patio or a fenced in backyard, start them off by getting them to commit to spending some time there. You may find that they enjoy the privacy of these locations.
3. Invite Nature to You
Start them off by placing a bird feeder in sight of a place where they regularly sit. After they appreciate watching the birds come, you can have them help you fill and take care of the feeder. After you get them to do that, then you can even suggest that they do some bird watching with you in the park.
Try to get them to plant some plants or flowers with you in the garden. Some plants attract butterflies, and they can enjoy the daily development of the plants. You can use the garden as a means to get your loved one to go to the garden center with you to buy supplies or get them to go to a local flower show with you.
5. Did the Mail Arrive?
Try to get them to go get the mail with you each day. You might find that this can make them feel useful as well.
6. Outdoor Art
Try to become creative. Find ways to get them to do their favorite indoor activities out of doors. For instance, if your loved one enjoys doing arts and crafts, then you should try to set them up outside on the porch with their supplies. If they love music, then try to find some local outdoor performances that will be easy to get to. If they enjoy spending time with family, then invite family members over for an outdoor picnic.
Your loved one may need some equipment to make it easier for them to get around. You want to be sure to avoid any pain and frustration in getting around. Mobility aids such as canes or rollators are readily available.
If your loved one has any issues with mobility, then you can have them work with an occupational or physical therapist. These therapists can offer you options such as modifications to your loved one’s environment to make mobility easier.
Patience can Help
While you as a caretaker may have all sorts of ideas for getting your loved one outside, you need to be patient and realistic with their abilities. Sometimes, you may be dealing with a person who never really enjoyed getting out of doors even in their younger days.
If you find that it is simply too difficult to get your loved one out of doors, for whatever reason, then you may want to try bringing some of the outdoors to them. Buy some plants and flowers to place around the room that they inhabit the most. Make sure to keep the blinds open and the window open to let the light and air in.
It is crucial for your senior loved one’s mental and physical health to expose them to the outdoors. There are many different levels at which this can be achieved. Remember to start slowly and be patient with your loved one. We are experts in the care of seniors with memory issues and will ensure that all of their needs will be taken care of. We are always available to answer any of your questions.