Nature and Retirement Should Go Hand in Hand

Since we’re heading deep into winter, the last thing you may be thinking about is getting more outdoor time with your senior loved ones! But the beneficial effect of nature on health and wellbeing cannot be overstated, whether you’re young or simply young at heart. Here’s how the power of nature can help seniors live healthier, better lives, and why it’s such an important element of senior living and retirement communities.

Spending Time Outdoors Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

When we think about getting in touch with nature, your mind can easily jump to experiences captured by the National Geographic channel  – canoeing through the Canadian wilderness, rock climbing in Colorado, or walking through the Serengeti among the lions – but it doesn’t need to be that complicated or that adventurous!

Research has shown that simply experiencing everyday life outdoors  significantly impacts  overall mental and physical health. Easy access to green or blue spaces – local parks, woods and nature reserves, lakes, rivers and the ocean – is what really matters, especially through the retirement years.

4 Benefits of Nature for Retirees

  1. Encourages physical activity and interaction – If nature is on your doorstep, you’re immediately encouraged to go and explore it. This means you’re more likely to take a walk or hike, which is perfect not only for physical health, but also for mental health. Not only do you get your heart pumping and get invigorated by the fresh air, you’re less likely to suffer from boredom, stress and low self-esteem. It’s also  great for family interactions, helping form bonds between the generations.
  2. It helps fight depression and isolation – Seniors are especially vulnerable to isolation and depression, which can  significantly impact  physical wellness. One prevention strategy, interacting with nature,  creates a feeling of inspiration, spirituality and connectedness. Immersion  in nature has long been promoted as a way to revitalize the soul and spirit, and it works – regardless of age. It’s cheaper than therapy, too!
  3. It boosts memory – One of the biggest concerns for seniors and their loved ones is memory loss, however,  regular interaction with nature can help.  One study found that interacting with nature not only improved memory performance, it also increased attention span by 20%. The explanation:  natural surroundings have an immediate impact of reducing the stress levels and overstimulation that come from urban environments. 
  4. It lengthens life – Nature can help you live longer, and an interesting Harvard study found that despite socioeconomic status, age or race, people surrounded by  greenery, generally live 12% longer than those that don’t. Environments with trees and plants showed reduced respiratory illnesses and 13% fewer cancer deaths, which makes the power of nature pretty amazing.

 

Helping Seniors Get in Touch with Nature at Bristol Glen

When bringing nature to a loved one, make it easy on both of you. Remember to cater to their health and fitness by keeping it simple. A regular walk around the local park, a visit to a local farm to pick apples, a picnic, or fishing with the grandkids are all great options.

In light of these benefits, why not  consider access to nature when looking at retirement communities? Research those offering beautiful landscapes, community gardens, walking trails, large grassy and wooded areas, blooming plants, or easy access to green and blue spaces. At Bristol Glen, we know the importance of nature for our residents as well as our associates. Our beautiful wooded 74-acre campus is the breath of fresh air we all need! To find out more about our senior living community, contact us or visit our website.