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elderly and middle age adult caregivers gardening together

The Benefits of Outdoor Activities for Seniors

Spring is in the air.

This makes it the perfect time to get your senior loved one outdoors, where they can enjoy some light exercise, nature and its scenery. 

Spending time outdoors for even a short time positively affects the mind, body, and soul. Fresh air and exposure to the sun improve cognition and mood as the body absorbs vitamin D. 

Recognizing the importance of outdoor activities, Kensington Park has a designated horticultural therapy program that focuses on the health benefits of therapeutic gardening. Our independent living, assisted living, and memory care buildings sit on eight acres of beautiful grounds. Residents are encouraged to relax outdoors, take a peaceful stroll, or birdwatch.  

Often, during the winter months, or when seniors are isolated in their homes for too long, they become susceptible to vitamin D deficiency. Your senior could suffer from fatigue, depression, bone pain and muscle weakness when this happens. 

Kensington Park has many gardening activities across campus that help residents get outdoors. In the summer, residents grow fresh vegetables such as cucumbers and tomatoes, as well as herbs such as basic, thyme, mint and more. 

While we offer gardening activities all year long, they increase once spring comes around. Residents plant starter seeds in pots indoors, and then transfer them outdoors once the weather is warmer. When the veggies are ready to harvest, they then can be used for on-campus meals, which gives our residents a sense of satisfaction for contributing to their community. 

Health benefits of outdoor activity

For older adults who can get outdoors and participate in outdoor activities and light exercise, there is an endless list of health benefits.

Mental health 

Soaking up the sun and breathing in fresh air is an excellent way to fight depression, stress and anxiety. Seniors who spend time outdoors have a reduced risk of mental problems. Spending time in nature and being exposed to the sun has been associated with good health and well-being

Physical health

When seniors are outside, they are more likely to take part in physical activity. Our residents go on frequent walks around our campus, as well as the downtown area. 

A healthier body can help your senior loved one feel less tired and sore and increase their balance and motor skills. With more strength and better mobility, your elderly loved one will be less likely to have falls. 

Protects cognitive functioning

For seniors with ADHD, nature helps them stay focused and calm. These effects are seen in all seniors but can be even more beneficial for those struggling with racing thoughts and a short attention span. 

Seniors with memory diseases can maintain their memory and cognition longer than those isolated and not engaging in outdoor activities. 

Promotes socialization

Seniors living at home are less likely to socialize, setting them up for loneliness and isolation. 

When you get your senior outdoors or transition them to a community that can, they will have ample opportunities to make new friends and participate in life enrichment activities. 

Together, these increase their quality of life and well-being. 

Prevents diseases

Many diseases can be prevented through light exercise and activities. Some common diseases linked to inactivity and sitting inside too often are stroke, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. 

Engaging in outdoor activities may prevent cancers of the breasts, colon, uterus, kidneys, and esophagus, as well.

Reduces pain and illness

Studies have found that seniors who spend time in nature take less pain medication, recover from illnesses and surgery quicker, and experience fewer complications. Quicker recovery time and less severe symptoms are likely the results of a strong immune system, boosted through sun exposure and time in nature. 

Tips and tricks for a stress-free outing

While enjoying the outdoors has many benefits, your senior will still need to be careful with the elements. 

Pay close attention to the time of day and length of time your senior loved one is outdoors. They should go out before or after the sun is in full effect. This can prevent them from burning and heat stroke. Make sure they wear sunscreen and a hat, and have a shady place to sit to protect from burns and cancer-causing UV rays. 

Seniors with allergies may need to take allergy medication before going outdoors.

Keeping your senior loved one hydrated is essential in the summer months and on hot days. Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may forget they need to drink water, so it will be necessary to pay attention to their water intake and for signs of dehydration.

Outdoor activities that seniors will enjoy

There are many fun activities that seniors can enjoy out in the warm weather. 

Bird watching

The great thing about bird watching is that seniors can engage in this hobby at their own pace. Learning about the different species of birds and catching a glimpse of a rare bird can be exciting. 

Gardening

The beauty of a garden, plants, or flowers can be therapeutic. 

Gardening can give your loved one a sense of purpose and keep them in shape. While gardening doesn’t seem like exercise, it requires strength, mobility, and dexterity. 

Picnic

A picnic is an excellent way for seniors to bond with others while experiencing the beauty of nature. Your senior loved one can invite family members or friends and choose from different locations for a change of scenery.

Photography

Most would agree that nature is beautiful. 

Your senior may enjoy sightseeing and trying to capture the perfect picture. Photography is a creative hobby that can improve memory and give your loved one something to look forward to on their trips outdoors.

Walking

Walking is a simple hobby that will benefit your elderly loved one mentally, emotionally, and physically. A brisk daily walk can help your senior loved one strengthen their bones, muscles, and joints, improve their sleep habits and mood, and maintain a healthy weight.

Walking pets

Pet ownership has a lot of benefits. When seniors walk their dogs, it helps them bond with them, which lowers their stress, and increases their happiness and fitness level.

Types of care and life enrichment 

At Kensington Park Senior Living, outdoor activities and life-enrichment is guaranteed.

Independent living

With eight beautiful acres, a cozy porch, and a sunny back deck, seniors can enjoy the sun, relax, and rejuvenate. 

Residents at Kensington Park can also participate in daily walks, jogging, tai chi, or yoga; enjoy the gardens; or sit by the water to picnic with friends or family. 

Assisted living

Seniors will engage in morning stretches and an afternoon stroll in the sunshine, ensuring they get their daily dose of vitamin D. 

Memory care

Most residents in memory care love morning walks outside around the community campus, or sitting on the front porch to enjoy the sunshine.

Catering to your loved ones needs

Kensington Park Senior Living is an independent living, enhanced assisted living, and memory care residence. 

We understand that families want their loved ones to maintain their health for as long as possible while also having a chance to truly age in place. 

This is why Our Promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own. 

Our compassionate staff can offer your senior loved one a full clinical spectrum of support. 

With nurses available 24/7 and their ability to administer medication and medical injections, seniors can live more comfortably without leaving their homes for treatment. 

We offer our residents rehabilitation services, like physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, brain wellness, spiritual wellness, music therapy, life-enrichment activities, and exquisite dining services. 

Contact us to learn more about our safe, cozy, and beautiful community. 

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