The hustle and bustle of city life can be stressful for many, but this is especially true for seniors. Even if you live in a smaller city or in the suburbs, the sights and sounds of these busy areas can be very overstimulating for people.
A recent British study measured brain activity in seniors (aged 65 and over) as they walked between urban environments and green spaces. As they walked through the urban areas, the volunteers experienced varying levels of increased stress and frustration. As they moved to the green spaces, the volunteers in the study preferred them, as they felt calm and enjoyed the quiet. The results of this study suggest that regular access to green spaces can be highly beneficial for the brain health of seniors.
Green spaces give seniors places where they can feel connected to nature and relax. Parks, trails and other outdoor spaces are also wonderful for encouraging seniors to be active and social.
Make an Effort to Get Outside Daily
Regular exercise is extremely important for seniors. When you have easy access to green spaces, it’s an excellent motivator – on a sunny day, seniors are more likely to get out and enjoy the weather if they have a safe space to go for a walk that is away from busy streets. Seniors who live within walking distance of a park or green space use them significantly more than those who live further away from a park or other walkable space.
Those with mobility issues who may not be able to walk or exercise in a park can still experience great benefits from the outdoors. Studies have shown that spending time in green spaces regularly can provide a feeling of mental restoration. In other words, the more time you spend outside, the better you’ll feel. In fact, even just looking out a window at a forest or garden can give some of the same benefits. This is a great option in the winter months when the weather can make it tough for some seniors to get outside. They’ll still be able to experience the restorative effects without the cold!
Green spaces also encourage social connections. At Bria Communities, each of our residences is thoughtfully designed with this in mind. From rooftop decks to outdoor gardening areas and patios, our residents always have easy access to green spaces. In fact, our green spaces are shaped by the residents themselves. Each residence has a Garden Club where residents are invited to give input on what’s growing. They have the opportunity to grow veggies and flowers in the communal garden, as well as in their own personal spaces. We encourage everyone to get outdoors and spend time with each other. In the warmer months, we often hold social events outside in order to get everyone out in the sunshine.
We understand the importance of providing with everyone quiet and safe spaces to enjoy nature and relax. Almost all of our residences include a large inviting water feature that residents can stroll around, or just enjoy their beautiful view and lovely sounds of flowing water. We also encourage residents to get out and explore the neighbourhoods around them as well, as there are plenty of parks and green spaces to enjoy nearby.