Filed under: Aging in place, Alzheimer Residence, Assisted Living, Baby Boomers, Community Gardens, Continue Care Retirement Communities, Gardening, Healing Gardens, Horticultural Therapy, Landscape Architecture, landscape design, Meditation Gardens, Organic gardens, Restorative gardens, Senior Environment Assessment, Senior Living, Successful Aging, Sustainability, Sustainable design, Therapeutic Gardens, Uncategorized
Our bodies natural rhythms are connected to the cycles of night and day. For centuries people have been able to to balance these natural rhythms by spending time outside. With the advent of the light bulb, we have been able to spend more time indoors and staying up late into the night. However, for people who are not able to get outside this can be disruptive to the natural processes of the body, including the absorption of vitamin D.
Sunlight is important for its ability to help the body create vitamin D. Vitamin D ‘works’ with the parathyroid hormone to balance calcium in the blood and in turn helps to build strong bones. The vitamin also helps regulate our immune system and maintain healthy cell growth.
Residents of nursing homes and other senior residences, in many instances, do not have the ability to access the outdoor environment. Either it is too difficult for them to be able to get outside or there isn’t even a place where they can go outside. Creating safe accessible outdoor areas for older adults is very important for their health and well-being. The opportunity for older adults to be able to spend time in a garden is a natural way for the body to create vitamin D.
Developing gardens that are fun and interesting is a way to encourage older adults to go outside. Gardens should be planned with activities and programs in mind. Activities such as gardening, bird watching, reading groups, bar-b-ques, and walking clubs are just a few of the elements of a garden that make people want to go outside. The goal is to get people to enjoy visiting the garden so that they will want to go outside often. This will help them get their daily dose of vitamin D – naturally!
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