Getting outside can sometimes be difficult for senior citizens. They may have mobility issues or health conditions that limit their ability to get outside and reap the benefits of fresh air and sunshine. One study showed that the average American spends 90% of their time indoors and that time spent outdoors decreases as people age. If you’ve noticed that your mom or dad seems to be getting outside less these days, these warmer spring days are a good time for you and your parent’s senior care provider to do something about it—and there are lots of health reasons for making the effort.
Health Benefits of Getting Outdoors
There can be lots of things that discourage us from going outdoors, and admittedly some of them are health related. There’s the risk of too much exposure to the sun causing skin cancer. And, of course, there’s all those insects, ticks, and other pests that bite. Keep in mind, though, that those are things we can take preventative measures against, like sunscreen and insect repellent. The good health benefits of time spent outdoors far outweigh the nuisance of the necessary preventative measures. Here are just a few of the things your mom or dad may experience by spending more time outside:
- More happiness: Sunlight helps the brain to release more serotonin, which is believed to improve mood and help people to feel calmer.
- Better Vitamin D levels: Exposure to sunlight increases the amount of vitamin D in the body, which can help protect the body against certain conditions, like osteoporosis and certain kinds of cancer.
- Faster healing: Some studies have shown that people who were exposed to natural light while recovering from illness or injury healed more quickly and felt less pain.
- More exercise: Spending too much time inside is associated with being less active because people spend a lot of time sitting in front of the television or the computer when they are inside. Spending time outdoors usually involves being more active because people are more likely to go for walks, spend time working in the garden, or just move about the yard.
Ideas for Outdoor Activities
If you’d like to get your mom or dad outside more, but aren’t sure what to do while you’re outside, here are some activities that your parent may enjoy:
- Concerts in the park.
- Reading while outside.
- Watching grandchildren play outdoor sports or games.
- Participating in outdoor games, like horseshoes or golf.
- Going on a picnic.
- Visiting a zoo, park, or botanical garden.
- Taking a walk.
- Visiting with neighbors as they walk by.
By choosing outdoor activities your parent can enjoy with the people in their lives, including their senior care providers, you can help improve their health. Just remember to use sunscreen and protect against insect bites so that the time spent outdoors can be safe as well as enjoyable.
The staff at Home Care Matters is available to talk with you and your family about all of your needs. Home Care Matters is a home care agency providing quality and affordable senior care in Buford, GA and the surrounding areas. Call (678) 828-2195 for more information.