Health problems and limited mobility can make it difficult for a person to go outside as they age. There are many risks out in the world, which means extra caution has to be taken when someone faces frailty and age-related conditions.
That doesn’t mean that an elderly person should never step food outside. Fresh air and sunshine can have a profound effect on senior health. It’s something that human beings need at all ages. However, this is especially true for older adults who may face different physical and mental health challenges.
Vista Living Senior Care believes in a holistic approach to wellness. We encourage residents to live life as fully as possible. Here’s why we believe that you or your loved one should make time to enjoy nature as much as possible.
- Helps Fight Feelings of Isolation
Isolation is a big concern for seniors, especially those that live on their own. Isolation can lead to depression and increases the risk of illness and injury. Going outdoors can help break the cycle of isolation some seniors experience each day.
Spending time outside also promotes social interactions. That’s because it can be done with a friend or family member or just going out in the community to meet neighbors. Moving to an assisted living home like Vista Living Senior Care is another great way to avoid isolation and enjoy the outdoors safely.
- Reduces Depression and Anxiety
Depression and anxiety are common mental health conditions among senior populations. This stems from aging and the life changes that can come with growing older, like losing loved ones. Out of around 34 million U.S. citizens who are over age 65, more than two million experience depression.
If left unchecked, depression and anxiety can lower quality of life and reduce longevity. It’s important to learn how to recognize the signs of senior depression and what you can do to help.
One of the easiest ways to support a senior with depression or anxiety is to get them outdoors. Fresh air, sunshine, and exercise can significantly improve mood and wellness.
A study found that a walk through a forest lowered anxiety. Another study reported that walks in nature had the potential to be “useful clinically as a supplement to existing treatments” when dealing with major depressive disorder.
- Helps Avoid Mental Fatigue
Many seniors suffer from mental fatigue. This can happen when brain function slows down, making it harder to process information.
Going outside is a good way to avoid mental fatigue. Nature elicits positive feelings. It has a powerful restorative effect. One study reported that just looking at photos of nature scenes helped restore mental energy in participants.
- Great Source of Vitamin D
The sun is our greatest source of vitamin D. This vitamin is essential to prevent cancer, depression, and osteoporosis.
Vitamin D helps you stay strong by supporting the absorption of calcium. Calcium helps build strong bones, muscles, nails, and teeth. You still get vitamin D when wearing sunscreen, so make sure you protect your skin while soaking up the sunshine.
- Encourages Physical Fitness
Going outside requires movement, which is good for senior citizens. Working muscles, deep breathing, and getting your heart pumping are good ways to stay fit. Even stepping out for a quick walk or moving from an indoor space to a lawn chair or picnic table is beneficial for seniors.
Regular motion is also a good way to reduce arthritis symptoms. Seniors who maintain a healthy body weight lower their risk of many medical conditions. Spending time outdoors helps seniors burn calories and build muscle. Physical status is a key component in assessing fall risk and preventing injury.
- Fortifies the Immune System
Being outside can increase your white blood cell count, which boosts your immune system, so it is better able to fight off colds and the flu. This effect is reported to last for several days, so going outside once every few days can have lasting benefits.
- Helps with Recovery
Most people notice that as their age increases, so does the amount of time needed to recover from illness, surgery, or an injury. Going outside won’t instantly cure you, but it will help you get better sooner.
Harvard Health Publishing reported that seniors recovering from spinal injuries who spent time outdoors had less painful symptoms compared to those who stayed inside.
- Green Spaces Increase Longevity
Living close to a green space can increase your lifespan, according to multiple studies. Environmental Health Perspectives published a 2016 study that found that people with increased exposure to green areas had a 12% lower mortality rate. This was due in part to a reduced risk of lung disease, kidney disease, and cancer.
Arizona Climate is Perfect for Outdoor Senior Living
Arizona is a retirement-friendly state partly because of its comfortable climate. The region experiences mild winters. It also has low humidity, so warm summers feel cooler compared to high-humidity areas.
For seniors, that means the outdoors is accessible all year round. Vista Living Senior Care has gorgeous outdoor areas with breathtaking views of nature. Our Arcadia community has a walking path that passes through our garden bed. The living room and dining room at Camelback look out on majestic Camelback Mountain.
The natural beauty of Arizona surrounds our communities. Residents can enjoy it all right from the comfort and safety of our assisted living home.