Going outdoors not only gives seniors the ability to exercise, but it can also lead to mental and emotional benefits that boost their quality of life. Below are some of the reasons seniors should spend time in nature and ways family caregivers can incorporate outdoor activities into their aging loved ones’ care plans.
1. Lowers Stress Levels
The beautiful sights and comforting sounds of nature can help older adults reduce fear, anger, and other emotions that cause stress levels to rise. They can focus on the beauty of nature instead of worrying about financial challenges, medical problems, and other issues that lead to high stress levels. Simply being outside on the porch for a few minutes each day could benefit your loved one mentally and emotionally.
2. Increases Energy
Being outdoors can provide a greater sense of vitality and more energy throughout the day. Your loved one can use this energy to exercise and take on more tasks throughout the home.
Low energy levels could lead to depression and a sedentary lifestyle, which is why you should encourage your loved one to find ways to boost his or her energy levels. Your parent can accomplish this by taking daily walks or hikes, visiting the park with family and friends, or going to places like the zoo and outdoor community concerts.
If you usually help your loved one get out to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air but you need a break now and then, consider having a professional caregiver take over for you. Whether you need respite from your caregiving duties or your aging loved one needs live-in care, Richmond, VA, Home Care Assistance can meet your family’s care needs. Our dedicated caregivers are available around the clock to provide transportation to doctor’s appointments, ensure seniors take their prescribed medications, and help with a variety of tasks in and outside the home.
3. Strengthens Immune Function
Older adults are more susceptible to conditions such as viruses and allergies. However, being outside can strengthen their immune function and help them stave off illnesses. The airborne chemicals various plants produce can increase white blood cell production in older adults and help them fight off various infections and diseases, including the flu and colds.
4. Reduces Blood Pressure
Whether your loved one sits in the backyard and listens to the calming sounds or hears nothing at all, the crisp air and fresh aromas could lower his or her blood pressure levels and reduce the risk of blocked arteries and a heart attack. While outdoors, your loved one can participate in physical activities such as playing games and taking walks through the park, which help with blood circulation and stave off hypertension.
Seniors with mobility issues or health conditions who need assistance getting outdoors can benefit from the help of trained professional caregivers. At-home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.
5. Boosts Bone Health
The body needs adequate amounts of vitamin D, and being outdoors is an excellent way to get this nutrient. The sunlight can help your loved one maintain healthy vitamin D levels and reduce muscle aches and pains. Aging adults who get sufficient amounts of this nutrient can lower their risk of arthritis, broken bones, fractures, multiple sclerosis, and more. A great way to help your parent get adequate sunlight is to encourage him or her to do yard work or maintain a small garden.
6. Staves Off Cognitive Decline
Aging can cause memory and thinking abilities to decrease, making it difficult to complete daily tasks while increasing the odds of developing conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. However, nature can boost your parent’s cognitive health and lower the odds of these neurological problems. The calm atmosphere of the outdoors can positively impact brain activity, enhancing working memory and attention span as well as communication and creativity skills.
Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of in-home care. Richmond families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet their elderly loved ones’ unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. If you need professional at-home care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (804) 207-4746.