senior, depression

Natural environments promote healthy aging in seniors

Recent research revealed that different environments can increase or reduce our stress. While being in an unpleasant environment can cause you to feel nervous, stressed, sad or helpless, being in nature - or even viewing scenes of nature, or listening to bird chirping - reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature does not only make you feel better psychologically, it adds to your physical wellbeing as well.

Nature heals

It is now scientifically proven that being in natural environments can highly reduce blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. It may even have the potential to reduce mortality, according to scientists. Therefore it is important for Seniors to spend considerable time daily in natural green and blue environments.

Nature does not only provide opportunities for elder people for various activities outside their homes, but also helps them cope with pain, to overcome barriers due to chronic illnesses or disability.

A recent study interviewing adults aged between 65 and 86 years in Canada, showed how very important being in nature in senior age is to the quality of later life. Spending time daily in green and blue spaces will decrease boredom, isolation, and solitude; as well as improve elder people's sense of purpose and achievement as well.

Nature connects

Isolation and loneliness are ones of the most serious problems of senior life, next to pain. According to a series of field studies, time spent in natural environments highly increase the sense of connectivity to each other and the larger world.

It is now proven that people living in houses with trees and green space around their buildings are known for being friends with more people, for having stronger feelings of union with their neighbours, and for being more concerned about supporting each others.

Form outdoor activities hiking is confirmed to be one of the most popular sports in senior age as well, as it not only help physical wellbeing, but also connects people to each other. It is proven that elder people who hike or walk at least four-five hours a week decrease their risk of being hospitalized due to cardiovascular problems. Hiking in nature with other people will also increase endurance, improve balance, and significantly lower the risk of heart disease and senior depression.

The importance of everyday contact with nature

Regardless of age - or culture, or ethnicity, - humans find nature and natural environments pleasing and smoothing. Scientific research done in offices, retirement homes, hospitals and schools has established that even a single plant in a room can have a major impact on stress and anxiety. Therefore spending at least an hour daily in green or blue environments can even more greatly contribute to healthy aging and happy senior years.