The Mental and Emotional Benefits of Outdoor Spaces And Gardens For Older People

As we look to move forward with our lives after the pandemic, and with summer upon us, it seems like the appropriate time to consider the mental benefits that gardens and outdoor spaces have for older people. Believe it or not, being in the garden and caring for plants has advantages much further than just physical. Therefore, with so many positives, it is always important to contemplate a green space for yourself, or a loved one, taking a step into care.

Considering the last year that many older people have been through, isolated to an indoor space for a substantial period because of Covid-19, these psychological benefits carry even more significance. This is why we take pride in the outdoor spaces and gardens within our Sunrise care homes, because we know just how important they are. What’s more, our gardens have acted as a safe haven from COVID-19, with the outdoors greatly reducing the likelihood of transmission.

An outdoor space helps reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, increase feelings of relaxation and satisfaction, and is hugely beneficial to those who live with mental conditions, such as dementia.

Having access to a garden can meet many needs for people living with dementia, their families and carers. It can provide countless benefits leading to a longer, healthier life. Providing sensory stimulation, relief and memory reflection, and an alleviation of feelings of helplessness, it is a proven support aid in delaying or preventing the onset of the illness. At Sunrise, many of our homes have dedicated sensory gardens which are designed specifically for residents living with dementia and they have proven to be hugely beneficial.

Furthermore, when the British weather allows, gardens provide a great opportunity for serotonin production, a vital ingredient to our body. Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain's release of this hormone, one that is strongly associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused.

And, ultimately, one of the main reasons for a great outdoor space, is that its enjoyable.

The opportunity to pull some weeds, plant some greens, and see your flowers bloom in the summer sun is second to none, and something that older people value highly. Mentally, it is engaging, providing an opportunity for many to connect not only with nature, but often their past, provoking positive nostalgia.

And last, but very much not least, it offers a great opportunity to socialise with others. Gardening presents a fantastic chance to connect and share with people similar. Whether that be checking up on each other’s progress and talking about gardening, or just simply sat in the summer sun at a table with a cup of tea discussing everything and anything, gardens are incredibly stimulating and positive for mental welfare.

Whilst the holistic wellbeing of elderly people is often neglected, at Sunrise we place the importance of this and an exceptional garden space at the top of our agendas, aware of the great value they provide to those in our care.

For more information about Sunrise, or to find out nearest Sunrise home, click here – book a visit, take a tour and spend some time in our lovely gardens.