The Importance of Nature to the Older Person
Being in touch with nature and being exposed to greenery, flowers and trees can be very therapeutic and beneficial to an older person’s mental health. All our CareChoice care staff ensure that our residents incorporate some nature appreciation into their weekly routines, even if this is just observing the newest colours in our flower-beds or sitting amongst the trees.
Our gardens are an important feature of each of our six CareChoice homes and have proved an extremely popular amenity. Our residents always have time in their week to enjoy our grounds and appreciate the nature on their doorstep. We also offer group gardening activities and flower arranging, which are a great hit and allow residents to experiment with their creativity. We encourage residents to participate in the selection of plants for the gardens in each of our homes. Plants are selected to encourage wildlife such as butterflies, bees and birds into the grounds.
We like to ensure our community is exposed to a diversity of nature and the outdoors, and we regularly plan day trips to botanical or open gardens and garden centres. Here our residents have time to take in their green surroundings and connect with nature.
Some of the main benefits of nature to the older person include;
- Resting in a garden setting can improve concentration for an older person, particularly one who is recuperating. The physical presence of nature and greenery can also be healing and restoring. Flowers in particular can have an emotionally stimulating effect.
- Being exposed to nature and natural light can help to improve sleep patterns and lift the mood. Observing the surrounding nature also helps with sensory experience. Sounds associated with nature such as birdsong or a bee buzzing among flowers can have a real impact on overall health and wellbeing.
- Engaging in some light gardening activity, as offered in our homes, not only benefits flexibility, balance and strength, but it can also relieve stress. Importantly, it is also enhances feelings of social inclusion, which are very important for the older person.
- Having easy access to a green space or garden encourages older people to go outdoors and this motivates them to be physically and socially active, which can help to offset illness and isolation. In addition, as the garden is traditionally associated with the home, having access to a garden can contribute to a sense of being at home.
These are just some of the ways in which contact with nature and green areas are hugely beneficial to the older person. Our gardens at CareChoice have been carefully created to benefit the health and wellbeing of our entire community, and to reflect our ethos of ‘a home from home.’