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5 Ways Being Outdoors Increases Cognitive Health in Aging Adults

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Many seniors over the age of 65 will experience mental health issues at some point. However, being outdoors can enhance the way their brains and bodies function as well as their mental wellbeing. Learn how spending time outside can boost mental health in the elderly.

1. Enhances Learning Abilities

Learning new information is essential for seniors, and it staves off various aspects of cognitive impairment. A senior’s senses help with processing and acquiring knowledge and thoughts, and being outdoors can strengthen these mental actions. The natural effect of being outside can boost your aging loved one’s cognitive processes by using his or her existing knowledge to generate new knowledge, which leads to effective learning practices.

2. Boosts Memory

Spending time outside can enhance a senior’s memory functions, including short-term memory. Merely being outdoors can also lead to a longer attention span. After spending time outside, your loved one may be able to concentrate better. Viewing the trees, hearing the sounds, and smelling the fresh air may trigger memories and help your loved one refocus and enhance the way he or she processes information. Your loved one can receive a memory boost from being outdoors in the colder months as well as during spring and summer.

If you usually help your loved one get out and about but need a break now and then, consider having a professional caregiver take over for you. Family caregivers sometimes need a break from their caregiving responsibilities. When they need respite care, Bethlehem families can rely on professional caregivers to help their senior loved ones remain safe at home.

3. Restores Mental Energy

Being mentally drained can lead to less activity and increase the risk of isolation. Seeing the natural beauty of nature can provide a mental boost that restores energy throughout the body, even if a person is outdoors for only a few minutes. The vitamin D from the sun can combat fatigue and reenergize your loved one. There are many ways to restore mental energy while being outdoors, including:

• Sitting near the garden
• Going for a walk in the park
• Having lunch at the lake
• Reading a book on the porch 

Cognitive health challenges are common for many aging adults, but they don’t have to manage them alone. In Bethlehem, senior care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.

4. Reduces the Risk of Schizophrenia

Most seniors with schizophrenia live alone and isolate themselves from family, friends, and society in general. If your loved one is living with dementia or another neurodegenerative disorder, he or she could also be at a higher risk of schizophrenia. Managing this mental issue is possible with treatment and self-help strategies, such as getting out of the home and enjoying outdoor activities. Instead of going to the gym, your loved one can do outdoor yoga and various exercises to calm his or her mind and alleviate symptoms associated with schizophrenia. While outside, your loved one can focus on how his or her feet touch the ground and how the wind feels on his or her skin.

5. Increases Recovery Response

Recovering from an illness, accident, or surgical procedure requires good cognitive health. Exposure to nature could activate the parasympathetic nervous system. Spending time in a garden, watching birds, or sitting by a pond can enhance both physiological and cognitive health and boost the recovery response. Merely looking at green grass and watching the sunset can engage your parent’s cognitive functions and restore many of the abilities he or she had before becoming ill.

Seniors with mobility issues or health conditions who need assistance with getting out of the house can benefit from the help of trained professional caregivers. Bethlehem at-home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently. Home Care Assistance can be your trusted partner in caregiving for your aging loved one. Contact one of our experienced Care Managers today at 484-350-3874 to learn more about our reliable in-home care services.