When you live in the north, the first nice day lures residents outdoors. We don’t even wait for spring. We walk our dogs, mow our lawns, plant seeds, take walks and enjoy the weather.
However, sometimes, as we grow older, we lose the urge to bask in the sun and smell the grass growing. That’s not good for our health. It’s even worse for the health of our parents.
Where can my parent enjoy bowling, movie nights, shopping outings, bus trips and spa days?
We’ve frequently been told that it’s not a good idea for older people to go outdoors, because of the risk of skin cancer or the risk of medication-caused sunburn. However, everyone needs some sunlight, and older people need more to generate vitamin D.
People over the age of 50 have an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency (link to sunlight blog). The best way to get vitamin D is through 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight before 10 o’clock a couple of times a week.
Sunlight also stimulates the production of endorphins, which makes everyone happier.
Science has proven that being in nature, even if it’s a community garden or a nearby park, benefits everyone. Contact with the natural environment increases attention, reduces stress, boosts positive emotions and, when done with others, promotes social engagement and support.
Numerous studies have focused on the advantages older adults receive from contact with nature. “We zoomed in to everyday life for seniors between the ages of 65 and 86. We discovered how a relatively mundane experience, such as hearing the sound of water or a bee buzzing among flowers, can have a tremendous impact on overall health,” said one study’s lead author, Jessica Finlay.