It is no secret that nature has a way of helping us to feel more centered and relaxed, regardless of our age. Now that spring is here and in full swing, it’s easier than ever to head out to the local park for a walk or step out and enjoy lunch on your patio. That being said, spending time outside in the sunshine and fresh air isn’t just a fun activity, but it is also good for both the body and mind. Here at our memory care in Malibu, CA, we strongly encourage our residents to reap the benefits of all that nature has to offer.
Continue reading below to learn more about why spending time in nature can be beneficial, especially for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease:
Supports Mental Health
May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, meaning it’s a great opportunity to explore various ways that you can support your mental well being. One of the easiest ways to do so is simply to prioritize spending time in nature. Those who have been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease often face issues with anxiety, stress, and other negative emotions. Finding ways to cope with these feelings is very important.
Nature has many calming elements and can stimulate the senses in a way that isn’t overwhelming. Oftentimes, a person with dementia might become upset or disoriented in a room with too many people or a lot of noise. Going to a quiet spot out in nature, however, can give them peaceful feelings. There, they can observe and experience sensations in a much more calming environment. For example, they can feel the wind on their face or listen to birds in the trees without becoming confused or frightened.
Bolster Your Vitamin D Levels
Sunshine is an excellent, all natural source of vitamin D. Many seniors struggle with getting enough vitamin D in their bodies, especially women. While there are vitamin supplements that you can take, know that even spending 15 minutes or so outside every day can do wonders for naturally bolstering your vitamin D levels.
Why is vitamin D so important? Here’s out it can benefit the body:
- May improve your immune system
- May prevent the development of certain cancers
- May fights off osteoporosis
- May combats depression symptoms
Get Better Sleep
Unfortunately, another common symptom that those with dementia face is the inability to sleep or get proper rest. Here at the best memory care in Malibu, CA, we want all of our residents to experience the quality, restful sleep that they deserve. After all, getting adequate rest on a routine basis is essential to maintaining one’s overall physical and mental well being.
If this sounds like something you’ve been dealing with lately, try heading outside and getting some fresh air. Doing so may help your circadian rhythm find balance and allow your sleep to become better regulated. Your circadian rhythm is dependent on natural light sources to tell you when to wake up and go to sleep. Take a few simple measures at first, such as enjoying your breakfast on the patio or taking a walk outside after lunch and see what improvements these can bring.
Opportunities to Socialize
Humans are social creatures and thrive off of spending time with one another. This applies to older adults, including those who live at the best memory care in Malibu, CA. However, socializing and connecting with others can be extremely difficult for someone with dementia. Due to the nature of the disease, it can impact many aspects of communication and make talking or even writing very difficult. However, it is still necessary to find ways to be able to spend time with friends and loved ones and feel like a part of a community.
This is where spending time in nature can be extremely beneficial. As discussed above, nature is a wide open setting that is typically less overwhelming than a large room or indoor dining area, for example. Seniors can have ample opportunities to socialize while outdoors and in an environment that is much less anxiety inducing. Going for a nature walk with a friend, or sitting and having coffee in the gardens together can be a great way to connect. Also, activities such as gardening or going to the beach are great choices, too!
Did you know that spending time outdoors can actually help expedite recovery times? According to various studies, those who have recently had surgery can actually experience decreased pain and recover more quickly just by enjoying a little fresh air and sunshine. If you have recently undergone an operation, or have one coming up, talk with your doctor about how safe it is to go outdoors. After all, you want to ensure that you aren’t going to jeopardize your recovery.
Also, be sure to always bring along a caregiver or family member with you when heading outdoors. This additional safety precaution will make sure that you are truly getting the most out of your time in nature.