With the weather steadily improving as we move further and further away from the cold winter, a “breath of fresh air” and stroll outside are surely in the cards for both you and your patients.
While a “breath of fresh air” might just be an expression, the benefits of a little outdoor activity are in fact very real. Alfresco activities have a host of benefits that are sure to interest anyone of the healthcare persuasion, particularly those caring for elderly patients.
According to a study from 2010, time spent outdoors makes people feel “more alive.” Bonding with Mother Nature can lead to an increased sense of vitality and energy, which in turn can help boost resiliency to physical illness. (rochester.edu)
“Nature is fuel for the soul. Often when we feel depleted we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energized is to connect with nature.” - Richard Ryan, lead author and professor of psychology at the University of Rochester.
As the warmer weather and brighter sun have you and your patient pining for the open air, you should of course use your best judgment when it comes outdoor activity -especially in the case that your patient has mobility issues.
But just as the benefits of traveling shouldn’t be lost on older patients, the positive effects of outdoor activity can still be enjoyed as well.
Walking is obviously one of the first activities that comes to mind. Walking outside as an ambulation exercise can strengthen muscles, increase join flexibility and improve self-esteem, among other things. You can read more about the benefits of ambulation here.
Board games and puzzles are fun, stimulating outdoor activities perfect for patients with mobility issues. Not only are games enjoyable from an entertainment standpoint, but they also promote social interactions. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and dementia patients see great benefit in exercising their minds. (livestrong.com)
Gardening is another fantastic outdoor activity for your elderly patients, be it a quick stroll through the garden to enjoy the sights and sounds or really working on that green thumb. (elder-one-stop.com)
The physicality of gardening may prove to be too strenuous for some, but even just the sight of the colorful flowers can prove to be beneficial to a patient, as they help stimulate the brain. (elderlycaretips.info)
When it’s sunny and 60 degrees, you should have no shortage of ideas for outdoor activities, but if you’re looking for a few extra suggestions, check out this great resource from elder-one-stop.com.