Green Spaces and Patios: Getting Outside Matters

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It’s patio season at All Seniors Care!!

Sunshine! Cocktails! Fresh summer salads! Umbrellas!  Every June, Canadians emerge from their winter hibernation ready to bask in the sun’s warmth. They gather on patios with friends, sip on a cold beverage, or dine al fresco. Getting outside is a wonderful way to relax and enjoy the natural beauty that’s all around us.

Designed to make the most of their surroundings, ASC retirement communities have inviting patios, landscaped walking paths, and balconies where retirees can engage in fun activities or simply breathe in the fresh air. There are also some tangible benefits to being outdoors, particularly for seniors.

A Case for Getting Outside

Elderly woman with brown hair sitting in a wheelchair, wearing a straw hat, surrounded by flowersSimply sitting in a green space or listening to the sound of falling water helps people feel more alive and increases vitality.  What’s more, research from the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility in Vancouver has revealed that getting outdoors can potentially improve seniors’ health.

Here are some highlights from the study:

  • Older adults have distinct therapeutic relationships with landscapes.
  • Nature can promote the physical, mental, and social health of older adults.
  • Blue space embodies important therapeutic qualities.
  • Safety, accessibility, and perception affect the therapeutic impact of landscapes.

It’s clear that getting outdoors on a regular basis is an incredibly important step for seniors who want to safeguard their health and live a more fulfilled life.

Making The Most of Patio Season

A patio space often becomes an extension of the living or socializing areas in many senior housing communities.  Here are just a few ways that you can make the most of your patio this summer.

Just be sure to enjoy the great outdoors safely: stay hydrated, be active at cooler times of day, and protect your eyes and skin. Also wear loose-fitting, breathable clothing, watch for signs of heat exhaustion, and protect against insect bites.

Play Outdoor Games

Why not take a page out of the Seine River playbook?  Health and Wellness Director Krzysztof Szulc makes the most of their beautiful courtyard as soon as the weather turns warm. The community loves to get involved in outdoor games, such as ladder ball, bocce, horseshoes, cornhole, shuffleboard, and more.

This past week, the popular Winnipeg residence added some educational activities for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Themed ‘Uproot Elder Abuse’, residents wore purple, planted purple flowers, and later moved inside to their theatre to watch a Ted Talk  about recognizing and preventing elder abuse.

Plant a Garden Man with white hair and glasses planting tomato seedlings

A garden is ‘a place that blooms and blooms and every morning reveals new miracle. A popular outdoor activity for older adults, gardening is a great way to stay active, maintain strength, and flexibility. For those who find bending over or kneeling a challenge, container gardening is a fantastic alternative!

Plant some tomatoes, or other fruit or veggie; or buy a variety of flowers, vines, and greenery of various heights to plant in large pots. This can be a creative activity that will provide enjoyment throughout the summer. Once the planting – and upkeep – is done, sit back and admire the fruits of your labour!

Sneak peak: Residences across Canada have been planting tomatoes in preparation for their special event in August, when they will celebrate Spain’s yearly Tomato Festival, La Tomatina.

Take Up Birdwatching

No matter the size of your patio, it is likely humming with life and birdsong. A great way to get outside, it is also a hot new hobby for seniors, according to The Globe and Mail. And why not? Birds are beautiful and fascinating creatures to observe. Whether you simply notice the birds on a walk through your garden or travel a little further away from home to spot some rarer birds, birdwatching offers a little something for everyone. Not only does it connect you with nature, but it’s also soothing and therapeutic.

Attend An Outdoor Concert

Everyone loves listening to music!  A popular activity at ASC residences, many local musicians and bands will put on small outdoor music events that you or your loved one will really enjoy! Bring some snacks and enjoy the sounds and scenery.

Summit Heights seniors residences in Hamilton recently had fun in the sun while listening to the Salvation Army band!

Get Cool with An Ice Cream Social

Whether you love strawberry, vanilla, or chocolate, an Ice Cream Social is a great way to make the most of the patio and to get out and soak up some Vitamin D. A classic outdoor activity enjoyed at many independent and assisted living communities, the fresh air and good conversation are great for both seniors and caregivers alike.

Gather Round the Camp Fire

Smores and sing-a-longs are a fantastic way to enjoy a soft summer evening.  With a nod to days of summer camp or cottage life, seniors at College Park assisted living communities in Regina love a good campfire. It’s also great practice for this year’s Ultimate Summer Games!

Take a Break, Take a Stroll

A research study done at the University of Michigan found that short-term memory improved by 20% just by walking in nature.  This is why many communities are situated close to green space and offer outdoor programs for residents.

A great way to stay active and enjoy the weather, walking brings a little cardio into your lifestyle. It’s also a great way to get some fresh air, see the sights, and take the time to smell the roses.

Take Up Photography

With todays’ technology, being a shutterbug is easier than ever. An accessible activity, photography can be enjoyed in the moment, as well as later on. If you aren’t a TekSavvy senior, join an educational workshop at your residence, or ask a staff member for help.  You’ll be snapping away in no time. So, grab a digital camera and go capture some memories!

A Place Where You Can Enjoy the Changing Seasons

When considering a new place to live, outdoor space is usually paramount to that decision.  Patios, balconies, nearby amenities, location within the community, or proximity to parks are often deciding factors when exploring communities that will make you feel at home.

With options such as patios, balconies, gazebos, and gardens, the thoughtfully designed outdoor spaces at All Seniors Care Living Centres accommodate walkers and wheelchairs so that everyone can get outside when the weather is pleasant.

For those who need a bit of extra support, programs like BLOSSOM Living include supervised, age-appropriate exercise programs including walking groups, gardening clubs, and social programs.

Contact us today to learn more about how we put an emphasis on providing opportunities for aging adults to embrace the great outdoors.

Writer  – Julianna McLeod

Julianna is a health and wellness expert at All Seniors Care. Her mission is to create content that empowers seniors to form sustainable solutions for lasting health and happiness. She is an experienced writer, editor, and Recreational Therapist living in Toronto.

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